Researchers at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, have mapped hundreds of DNA markers for the melon genome to help identify traits for new varieties, according to a news release from the university.

Science by Texas AgriLife Research could lead to tastier and healthier melons.

“This will help us anchor down some of the desirable genes to develop better melon varieties,” said Dr. Kevin Crosby, who completed the study with Drs. Soon O. Park and Hye Hwang. “We can identify specific genes for higher sugar content, disease resistance and even drought tolerance.”

Researchers identified factors particularly useful for development of hybrids, including specific genetic markers linked to fruit sugars, vitamin C and other information.

The research, an extension of studies done previously by French and Spanish scientists, could be monumental to the future of controlling a melon’s resistance to disease, brix level, size, shape and quality, according to the release.