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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Hilo, Hawaii » Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center » Tropical Plant Genetic Resources and Disease Research » Research » Research Project #436169

Research Project: Genetic Technologies for Detection, Characterization, and Control of Plant Viruses in Hawaii

Location: Tropical Plant Genetic Resources and Disease Research

Project Number: 2040-21000-019-003-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 6, 2019
End Date: Aug 5, 2024

Virus diseases seriously challenge tropical crop production in Hawaii and the U.S. Pacific region. For example, Banana bunchy top virus (BBTV) has severely limited commercial banana production; the Iris yellow spot virus has devastated onion crops on Maui and Oahu; the Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) has caused tomato crop losses. The emergence of new virus diseases of flowering ginger associated with Canna yellow mottle virus (CaYMV) and Banana bract mosaic virus (BBrMV) are a cause for concern for growers in the cut flower industry. The overall goal of the project is to develop virus detection assays and to characterize the important plant virus diseases of major tropical crops in Hawaii in order to develop effective control strategies. Specific objectives are to: 1) develop sensitive and reliable molecular assays to detect plant viruses; 2) characterize the genome and molecular diversity of the viruses; 3) develop virus-resistant plants using the CRISPR-Cas gene-editing technology; and 4) complete application for safety certificate of Hawaii’s virus-resistant GM papaya into China.

Recently, we have identified novel viruses from pineapple plants which might be important in the etiology of pineapple mealybug wilt disease. This pineapple disease is one of the most devastating diseases of pineapple worldwide. My research program has characterized four viruses associated with this disease previously and have been working on the etiology of the disease for many years. The identification and characterization of the novel viruses will help us to develop new strategies for the management of this important pineapple disease. (Note: Full Approach for Objectives 1-4 uploaded in EGreen section)