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Scientists Work Together to Develop Global Distribution Map of Tomato Virus

Zhangjun FeiBoyce Thompson Institute Scientist Zhangjun Fei has teamed up with scientists from across the country to generate a comprehensive global virus distribution map for tomatoes and develop breeders’ tools to breed tomatoes and related fruits andvegetables with enhanced virus resistance. Crop viruses have a worldwide distribution and have caused significant losses in field and greenhouse tomato, pepper, eggplant and other vegetable production. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) has funded the $1.3M study to develop the map and other tools to help reduce the impact of these viruses.

Dr. Zhangjun Fei will work with the project leader, Plant Pathologist Dr. Kai-Shu Ling from the USDA-ARS United States Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina. The pair work together to develop detection methods for new and emerging tomato viruses, identify the tomato genes responsible for virus resistance, and make this information available to plant breeders. The researchers hope that this will dramatically increase our understanding of how the virus is distributed globally and provide tools to predict and limit future epidemics.

The project is part of the USDA’s focus on supporting research in plant breeding, genetics, and genomics to improve crops, identify and address threats from pests and diseases, and, create new technologies and tools for plant breeders.

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