Additional Efforts

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The RosBREED project addresses the need for genetic solutions to develop new cultivars with both disease resistance and superior horticultural quality in the Rosaceae crop family, including peach and cherry. The USDA-SCRI awarded project meets annually to discuss current local and regional breeding problems and includes a team of 35 scientists across 14 U.S. institutions as well as international collaborators. Within the program, the development of ARR resistant rootstocks for Prunus crops has been recognized as a high priority.

ARR Disease Summit

Despite all of the past and present efforts, a solution to the ARR problem is still elusive due to individual and localized efforts. Therefore, a national Armillaria summit at U.C. Davis was organized and held in August of 2017 following initiative from RosBREED industry stakeholder advisory committee members. The major goal of the summit was to unify efforts and discuss future activities required to address the ARR problem. The conclusion of the summit lead to the submission of a USDA planning grant application to gather researchers and growers in an effort to identify gaps in the research.

Planning Grant

An USDA-NIFA-SCRI (2018-51181-28378) Planning grant “Solutions to the Armillaria Root Rot Threat Affecting the U.S. Stone Fruit Industry” was funded in 2018. Major goal of the planning grant was to assemble a national, interdisciplinary team that will identify gaps in the research, assess grower needs, and develop and coordinate achievable objectives that apply to all Prunus crops and all Armillaria species.

The planning grant goal was to develop a comprehensive USDA SCRI Coordinated Agricultural Project/Standard Research and Extension Proposal (CAP/SREP), which directly addresses this goal by identifying and filling the gaps that exist between currently funded research and incorporating grower needs. Collectively this will address our long term goal of finding a permanent solution for ARR in Prunus, and this effort will benefit crops outside the scope of this proposal (e.g., walnut, grape, rose).

The specific objectives of this project were to:

  1. Assemble a national, interdisciplinary, multi-institutional team of researchers,
  2. Identify gaps in current Armillaria root rot (ARR) research and potential collaborations to fill such gaps,
  3. Include stakeholders on the project team, to ensure rootstock acceptance,
  4. Identify and align common goals to develop ARR resistance,
  5. Integrate pathogen and plant collections, and knowledge from preliminary and other unpublished research, into a coordinated plan for development of a CAP/SREP proposal