Where did watermelons come from?

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The iconic green and red watermelon is a sweet, refreshing summer staple. But it wasn’t always so sugary or vibrantly colored. So what did watermelons originally taste and look like, and from where did they originate?

The thirst-quenching fruit isn’t from the Fertile Crescent of ancient Mesopotamia, as so many other domesticated crops are, research shows. Susanne Renner, a botanist at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany, and her colleagues carried out comprehensive genetic sequencing of the domesticated watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) — the kind you might find on supermarket shelves — along with six wild watermelon species. 

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