Field trials of plum clones transformed with the Plum pox virus coat protein (PPV-CP) gene
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Transgenic clones C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, and PT-6, of plum (Prunus domestica L.) transformed with the coat protein (CP) gene of Plum pox virus (PPV), PT-23 transformed with marker genes only, and nontransgenic B70146 were evaluated for sharka resistance under high infection pressure in field trials in Poland and Spain. These sites differed in climatic conditions and virus isolates. Transgenic clone C5 showed high resistance to PPV at both sites. None of the C5 trees became naturally infected by aphids during seven (Spain) or eight (Poland) years of the test, although up to 100% of other plum trees (transgenic clones and nontransgenic control plants) grown in the same conditions showed disease symptoms and tested positively for PPV. Although highly resistant, C5 trees could be infected artificially by chip budding or via susceptible rootstock. Infected C5 trees showed only a few mild symptoms on single, isolated shoots, even up to 8 years post inoculation. These results clearly indicate the long-term nature and high level of resistance to PPV obtained through genetically engineered resistance.