GENETIC IMPROVEMENT OF FRUIT CROPS THROUGH FUNCTIONAL GENOMICS AND BREEDING
Location: Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory: Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement and Protection
Title: 'HoneySweet' - a transgenic plum pox virus resistant plum - from laboratory and experimental field plots to regulatory approval
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 10, 2011
Publication Date: September 12, 2011
Citation: Scorza, R., Callahan, A.M., Ravelonandro, M., Cambra, M., Zagrai, I., Polak, J., Malinowski, T. 2011. 'HoneySweet' - a transgenic plum pox virus resistant plum - from laboratory and experimental field plots to regulatory approval [abstract]. International Science for Horticultural Science Genetically Modified Organisms in Horticulture Symposium. p. 45.
Genetic engineering (GE) has the potential to revolutionize fruit tree breeding. It is an approach that can target specific genetic improvements and allow for the development of novel, useful traits. While GE does not provide a panacea for all of the difficulties associated with fruit tree breeding, it can be a useful approach to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of breeding programs. In spite of the potential utility of GE for fruit tree improvement, the technology has not, to date, been widely exploited in these species. Well over 11,000 field tests of transgenic plants in the United States have been undertaken in the U.S. since 1987, while less than 1 percent have involved fruit tree species. Nevertheless, there are examples of successful GE trees under test and advancing towards the market. Over the past 20 years, an intensive international research project has focused on the development of GE resistance to Plum pox virus (PPV) the causative agent of Sharka, one of the most destructive diseases of plum and other stone fruits. A result of this effort has been the development of 'HoneySweet' plum, a GE variety that has proven to be highly resistant to PPV, as demonstrated in over 15 years of study and field testing in the U.S. and Europe. The efficacy and safety of 'HoneySweet' have been validated through the successful regulatory approval of this PPV resistant GE plum variety in the U.S. The international collaborative program that produced 'HoneySweet' demonstrates the potential for publicly-funded research and development to provide safe, efficacious GE products for the benefit of growers and consumers.