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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: GENETIC IMPROVEMENT OF FRUIT CROPS THROUGH FUNCTIONAL GENOMICS AND BREEDING Title: 'HoneySweet' plum - a valuable genetically engineered fruit-tree cultivar and germplasm resource

Authors
item Ravelonandro, Michel -
item Scorza, Ralph
item Polak, Jaroslav -
item Callahan, Ann
item Krska, Boris -
item Kundu, Jiban -
item Briard, Pascal -

Submitted to: Food and Nutrition Sciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 8, 2013
Publication Date: June 5, 2013
Citation: Ravelonandro, M., Scorza, R., Polak, J., Callahan, A.M., Krska, B., Kundu, J., Briard, P. 2013. 'HoneySweet' plum - a valuable genetically engineered fruit-tree cultivar and germplasm resource. Food and Nutrition Sciences. 4:45-49.

Interpretive Summary: ‘HoneySweet’ is a plum variety developed through genetic engineering to be highly resistant to plum pox potyvirus (PPV) which causes “sharka” disease. This disease, which originated in Europe, causes great losses in stone fruit production and particularly in plums. The disease threatens U.S. stone fruit production. Following introduction of the disease into the U.S. in 1999, quarantine and eradication programs have kept the disease at bay but infections in Canada and South America are a continuing cause of concern. The PPV resistance of ‘HoneySweet’ has been confirmed in over 15 years of field tests in infected areas of Europe. Resistance is based on the boosting of a natural plant defense mechanism termed RNA interference. This resistance has been transferred to seedlings through cross-hybridization making ‘HoneySweet’ useful as a parent for developing new PPV resistant plum varieties. ‘HoneySweet’ plums are of high quality and compare well to the quality and nutritional value of conventional plums. ‘HoneySweet’ demonstrates the utilization of genetic engineering to provide safe and effective solutions to important agricultural challenges facing growers and ultimately, consumers.

Technical Abstract: ‘HoneySweet’ is a plum variety developed through genetic engineering to be highly resistant to plum pox potyvirus (PPV), the causal agent of sharka disease, that threatens stone-fruit industries world-wide and most specifically, in Europe. Field testing for over 15 years in Europe has demonstrated the stable and durable PPV resistance of ‘HoneySweet’. Resistance is based on gene silencing whereby, the inserted gene induces a natural plant defense mechanism against viruses. This resistance has been transferred to seedlings through cross-hybridization as a single locus dominant trait making it useful as a parent for developing new plum varieties for specific growing areas and markets. ‘HoneySweet’ plums are of high quality and compare well to the quality and nutritional value of conventional plums. ‘HoneySweet’ demonstrates the utilization of genetic engineering to provide safe and effective solutions to important agricultural challenges facing growers and ultimately, consumers.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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