Title: THE PAPAYA STORY: A SPECIAL CASE OR CAN IT BE GENERIC?
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 10, 2003
Publication Date: April 10, 2003
Citation: Gonsalves, D. 2003. The papaya story: a special case or can it be generic?. In: Eaglesham, A., Hardy, Ristow, S., editors. Science & Society at a Crossroad, National Agricultural Biotechnology Council Report 15, June 1-3, 2003, Seattle, Washington. p. 223-233.
In 1992, papaya ringspot virus (PRSV) was discovered in the Puna district of Hawaii Island, where 95% of the state of Hawaii's papaya was being grown. By 1994, PRSV was widespread and causing large losses to papaya production in the Puna district. Coincidentally, genetically engineered papaya was produced and shown to be resistant to papaya ringspot virus in 1991. Thus, a concerted effort was made by the researchers to characterize, deregulate, and commercialize the transgenic papaya. The papaya was released to growers in 1998 and stemmed the destruction being caused by PRSV. This transgenic case has frequently been regarded as a model for showing the timely and successful use of biotechnology in agriculture. The key factors that contributed to its success were the starting of the research before PRSV became a severe problem in Puna, the commitment of the researchers to bring the project to a practical end, and the close communication and collaboration between the industry and the researchers. Can the papaya case be used a model for effective transfer of biotechnology? The author believes that this case presents the key elements for effective and timely transfer of biotechnology in agriculture.