Submitted to: Proceedings American Society of Horticultural Sciences
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/16/2017
Publication Date: 9/1/2017
Citation: Suzuki, J.Y. 2017. Development of genetically modified papaya and its impact. Proceedings American Society of Horticultural Sciences. 52(9S):S111. https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI.52.9S.S1.
Technical Abstract: Development of genetically engineered (GE) papaya ringspot virus (PRSV)-resistant ‘Rainbow’ papaya resulted from a collaboration of public sector scientists responding to a need to preserve an important agricultural industry in Hawaii. Nearly twenty years following its introduction, ‘Rainbow’ has been well adopted and represents as much as 77% of the papaya acreage in the state according to the latest data available. A number of other cultivars have been and are being developed from the same virus resistant line to meet niche market de-mands and for improved marketability, thus widening use of this technology. Management practices in Hawaii have enabled continued coexistence of GE and non-GE papaya production to meet customer preferences worldwide. Although the U.S. is not considered a major producer of papaya, which is among the top five most traded tropical fruit, U.S. papaya exports ranks among countries with far greater production volume. Canada is an increasingly important export market for Hawaii’s ‘Rainbow’ papaya outside of the U.S. mainland. The recent acceptance of ‘Rainbow’ into Japan has opened prospects for regaining share on a lucrative, international market for Hawaii’s papaya lost previously due to the damaging effects of PRSV on production. Although Rainbow papaya plays an essential role for Hawaii’s agriculture and is well adopted by local farmers, shippers and a large number of consumers, GE technology itself is not fully accepted at the local, national nor international level. However, development and or commercial adoption of GE papaya has occurred elsewhere. Continued research and development is necessary to prevent future disasters or reduce economic losses from emerging diseases including new virus races or severe pests. Cultivar improvement for other commercial traits is also needed to compete effectively for domestic and foreign markets. With technological advancements in genomics, biotechnology and molecular techniques there are increasingly better tools including germplasm identification, characterization, molecular breeding and transformation for tropical fruit crop improvement and management.