Genetic engineering of Plum pox virus resistance: 'HoneySweet' plum-from concept to product
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AutorScorza,Ralph; Callahan,Ann; Dardick,Chris; Ravelonandro,Michel; Polak,Jaroslav; Malinowski,Tadeusz; Zagrai,Ioan; Cambra,Mariano; Kamenova,Ivanka
Sharka disease, caused by Plum pox virus (PPV) was first recorded in Bulgaria during the early twentieth century and since that first report, the disease has progressively spread throughout Europe and more recently to Asia, Africa, North and South America. Few PPV resistance genes have been found to naturally occur in Prunus and this has led to the investigation of biotech approaches to the development of resistance through genetic engineering (GE). A notable example of the utility of this approach is 'HoneySweet' plum. PPV protection in this case is based on RNA interference (RNAi) and resistance has been shown to be highly effective, stable, durable, and heritable as a dominant trait. Extensive testing and risk assessment of 'HoneySweet' in laboratory, greenhouse and in the field for over 20 years has demonstrated not only the effectiveness but also the safety of the technology. 'HoneySweet' has been cleared for cultivation in the USA. By the appropriate regulatory agencies. The development and regulatory approval of 'HoneySweet' demonstrate the ability of RNAi technology to contribute to the sustainability of stone fruit production in regions impacted by PPV. Although it has taken almost 100 years since the identification of sharka, we are now able to effectively protect stone fruit species against this disease through the application of GE.