Color break symptoms on flowers of flowering tobacco (Nicotiana sanderae cv. Avalon, caused by Tobacco mild green mosaic virus (TMGMV; genus Tobamovirus); Inset shows a flower from a noninfected plant of the same color.
Jonathan Horrell 1453 Fifield HallP.O Box 110680Gainesville, FL 32611-0680 firstname.lastname@example.org
Host: Nicotiana x. sanderae cv. Avalon; Flowering tobacco Disease name: Color break Pathogen name: Tobacco mild green mosaic virus (TMGMV; genus Tobamovirus)Color break is a symptom that is manifested as bleached or discolored areas on the flower petals of virus-infected plants. Sometimes, this color break symptom has been highly desired. In 17th century Holland, tulip collecting became big business. Owning tulips was considered a status symbol, and having rare or unusual varieties, a sign of wealth and power. Especially prized were the colorful "broken" or "Rembrandt" tulips, with their contrasting streaks of white and color. Today, we know that these tulips are like this because they are infected with a virus, Tulip breaking virus (TBV; genus Potyvirus). Gamblers and speculators soon entered the tulip trade, driving prices up to extraordinary levels. People sold everything they owned to invest in tulip bulbs, in part because they believed that there would always be someone who would buy the tulip bulbs for more. At the height of the Dutch tulip craze in 1636, a single diseased tulip bulb was traded for all of the following items: 4 tons of wheat, 8 tons of rye, 2 tons of butter, 1,000 pounds of cheese, 4 tons of beer, 2 barrels of wine, 4 oxen, 8 swine, 12 sheep, a suit of clothes, a bed, and a silver drinking cup!
So, it could be said that at one time, Tulip breaking virus was the most valuable virus in the world!
Unfortunately for these investors, the bubble soon burst, no one was willing to pay outrageous sums for tulip bulbs, and the market collapsed, dragging the entire Dutch economy along with it in 1637.
APS publication number: IW000031
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