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:
The collaborating organization, the Black Sea Biotechnology Association, provided logistical support and funding for the U.S. European collaboration in the testing of Plum pox virus (PPV) resistant plums under field conditions. This work provided important information to U.S. researchers seeking to develop PPV resistant varieties for U.S. growers. The Black Sea Biotechnology Association provided support for a field test of 'HoneySweet' PPV resistant plum that is being undertaken by a collaborator in Romania. This field planting will provide valuable information on the performance of 'HoneySweet' plum under conditions of heavy virus inoculation pressure and evaluate pollen flow from genetically engineered (GE) plums. This project also funded work by Czech Republic and other European scientists to develop a dossier to submit to the European Food Safety Agency for approval of cultivation of ‘HoneySweet’ plum in the European Union (EU). Approval would benefit EU growers and also help to open markets for GE crops exported by U.S. growers who use these crops to improve the sustainability of U.S. agriculture, to reduce use of agricultural chemicals, and to better compete in the world market.