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Field Evaluation of Transgenic Papaya Lines Carrying the Coat Protein Gene of Papaya ringspot virus in Taiwan

June 2004 , Volume 88 , Number  6
Pages  594 - 599

Huey-Jiunn Bau , Department of Plant Pathology, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan, R. O. C. ; Ying-Huey Cheng , Department of Horticulture, Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute, Wufeng, Taiwan, R. O. C. ; Tsong-Ann Yu and Jiu-Sherng Yang , Department of Botany, National Chung Hsing University ; Pan-Chi Liou , Chi-Hsiung Hsiao , and Chien-Yih Lin , Department of Horticulture, Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute ; and Shyi-Dong Yeh , Department of Plant Pathology, National Chung Hsing University

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Accepted for publication 20 December 2003.

Four transgenic papaya lines expressing the coat protein (CP) gene of Papaya ringspot virus (PRSV) were evaluated under field conditions for their reaction to PRSV infection and fruit production in 1996 to 1999. Plants were exposed to natural virus inoculation by aphids in two adjacent fields in four different plantings at the same sites. None of the transgenic lines showed severe symptoms of PRSV whereas control nontransgenic plants were 100% severely infected 3 to 5 months after planting. In the first and second trials, 20 to 30% of the transgenic plants showed mild symptoms consisting of confined mottling or chlorotic spots on leaves. The number of transgenic plants with mild symptoms fluctuated according to the season and weather conditions, with a tendency to increase in the winter or rainy season and decrease in the summer. Also, the incidence of the mild symptoms in the third trial increased significantly due to infection by root rot fungi during the rainy season. Interestingly, there was no apparent adverse effect on fruit yield and quality in transgenic plants with mild symptoms. In the first and second experiments, transgenic lines yielded 10.8 to 11.6 and 54.3 to 56.7 times more marketable fruit, respectively, than controls. All transgenic plants produced fruit of marketable quality with no ringspots or distortion.

© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society