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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: Detection and Mitigation of Invasive Plant Viruses

Location: Tropical Plant Genetic Resources and Disease Research

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Develop and evaluate multidisciplinary biologically-based pest management technologies to reduce the impact of newly discovered or existing invasive plant viruses in Hawaii. Conduct research and outreach activities to minimize the impact of invasive viruses on Hawaii’s agriculture.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
A well-equipped laboratory at the University of Hawaii (UH) will be charged with the responsibility for detecting new invasive plant viruses and develop integrated management strategies to minimize the impact of the new or existing plant viruses on crops produced in Hawaii. A research team will be organized to maximize the expertise of the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UH) and the Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center (PBARC) in virus diagnosis, management strategy development and conducting outreach activities to assist farmers in gaining knowledge on newly discovered viruses and then transferring the knowledge to farmers for use in their crop production practices.


3.Progress Report:

Using genetic engineering approach provides a quicker way to develop banana plants with long-lasting, broad-spectrum resistance to Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV); this understanding directly contributes to objective 3 of the in-house project.

A total of 20 independently transformed lines of “Dwarf Brazilian” that had been exposed to BBTV but not showing BBTV symptoms were produced. Of which, 13 lines are presently field planted at the Waimanalo Experiment Station on Oahu. These plants are at various stages of maturity and being screened for BBTV resistance. Studies are being made to challenge several transgenic banana lines with viruliferous aphids collected from BBTV-infected plants to confirm the resistance.

This approach will be repeated on all the lines that are being multiplied before transplanting in the field. Monitoring of those lines planted in the field was routinely conducted. Data was collected on such horticultural characteristics as growth rate, height at time of flowering, time required for flowering and for harvesting after transplanting, fruit yield, fruit size and appearance, and sucker production. A high throughput detection method was developed using quantitative PCR and TagMan chemistry with a rapid sample-preparation protocol, which is applicable to plant and insect vector. This detection method would, therefore, allow an easy detection and quantification of BBTV in plants and insect vectors.


Last Modified: 7/12/2014
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