Submitted to: Biotechnology of Plant Disease Control
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: October 30, 2008
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Viruses, viroids, and phytoplasmas are pathogens that cause severe diseases that generally cannot be successfully treated or cured. Fruit diseases are clear examples of the impact of these pathogens on production and quality, and illustrate the strategies that can be applied by pathologists and breeders to control the diseases. Many early examples of disease control through breeding were based on the development of tolerant varieties which, unfortunately, allowed for the spread of pathogens. To date, only preventative measures can be used to control viral fruit diseases. With the worldwide movement of plant material and strict quarantine measures, tolerance is not an appropriate method of disease management. High levels of resistance that can be produced naturally or through biotechnological approaches are the desired alternatives. In terms of biotechnology, pathogen-derived resistance (PDR), initially developed in herbaceous model systems, was first utilized for virus control in annual crops and represents the approach that led to the release of the first commercialized disease resistant genetically engineered crops. This chapter briefly summarizes the progress of PDR through post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) for the production of virus resistant fruit varieties and presents the challenges of applying these technologies to viroid and mycoplasma diseases.