1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
To develop international collaborative testing programs to evaluate 'HoneySweet' and other Plum pox virus resistant genetically engineered plums in expanded European field tests and to support international exchanges of information between project collaborators.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Collaborators in Europe will develop field trials of 'HoneySweet' and additional PPV resistant transgenic plum clones. These field trials will be developed in areas of high PPV infection pressure. Data on tree performance in terms of PPV infection, fruit quality and other agronomic characteristics will be recorded. Pollen flow will be monitored at sites where flowering is authorized. These data will be used to support EU regulators. A meeting of collaborators will be supported as one of the vehicles for the exchange of information on the project.
3. Progress Report:
In collaboration with researchers in the Czech Republic, scientists from the U.S., France, Spain, Romania, and Poland are developing a dossier for submission to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) requesting the approval of the genetically engineered Plum pox virus resistant plum 'HoneySweet'. A Polish scientist is currently supported under this agreement to collaborate on the analysis of small RNA production in fruit and vegetative parts of 'HoneySweet' and non-GE plums. These studies will provide additional data for a dossier seeking approval for cultivation of 'HoneySweet' plum in the EU that is being developed by European scientists. This submission will present a new paradigm for the EU. 'HoneySweet' represents a public institution development of a publicly available GMO product developed to solve a high profile agricultural problem affecting small growers and family farms in the EU. This paradigm could usher a shift in the attitude towards the acceptance of GMOs in the EU and open new markets for U.S. agricultural products. ARS PI monitoring activities to evaluate research progress included: phone calls/conference calls, on-site Cooperator/ARS meetings, email communications.