|Schnell Ii, Raymond|
Submitted to: PCMA International Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/31/2001
Publication Date: 10/31/2001
Citation: Saunders, J.A., Schnell Ii, R.J., Hebbar, P., Goenaga, R.J., Bowers, J.H., Bailey, B.A., Brown, S.A., Mischke, B.S. 2001. The usda program in molecular genomics, disease resistance and ipm strategies fro theobroma cacao [abstract]. PCMA International Meeting.
Technical Abstract: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has initiated a multi disciplinary program at three separate locations aimed at addressing critical issues relating to the economic production of chocolate from Theobroma cacao. This commodity has come under significant disease pressure within the last 15 years due to three major fungal diseases that have devastated the crop in Central and South America. The USDA program focuses on close cooperation with industry partners and with producing countries in several different areas of research. These research areas include, 1) the establishment of a global cacao molecular identification center in Beltsville, Maryland, to use internationally standardized molecular probes for DNA fingerprinting of all major germplasm collections of T. cacao in the Americas and related regions, 2) the establishment of a core USDA germplasm center in Puerto Rico as a repository for major accessions of T. cacao, 3) the establishment of a quarantine center in Miami, Florida to assist in exchange of elite disease resistant germplasm, 4) an in-depth molecular program of gene discovery, genetic mapping, and examination of population genetics of T. cacao, 5) investigations into the use of biocontrol agents, as a part of an Integrated Pest Management strategy, against the fungal pathogens causing diseases of T. cacao, and 6) investigations into the use of natural defense mechanisms within T. cacao initiated by application of low-cost elicitors. Each of these lines of investigation is centered not only in United States laboratories, but is also linked to extensive field trials and applications sites within cooperating cacao growing regions. Through these cooperative interactions, the USDA plans to work with interested parties to improve