Tomatoes and cucurbits are among the major vegetables grown in the Mediterranean, ranking 2nd and 3rd after potatoes. Their intensive production, with year round crops and a limited number of cultivars expose them permanently to the emergence and invasions of pathogens including viruses. Geminiviruses are among the most worrying viruses of these crops due to their economic impact, the frequent introduction of new exotic species into the Mediterranean and the continuous emergence of potentially invasive and resistance breaking strains generated by recombination.
Prevention and control of these viruses is the major objective of GeMed project.
The specific objectives, tackled by virologists, entomologists, geneticists, breeders, biologists and computer scientists are to (i) broaden the knowledge of the ecology of new and potentially invasive geminiviruses with the involvement of partners located at the four cardinal points of the Mediterranean, (ii) understand outbreak phenomena of invasive recombinant geminiviruses with field observations and analysis of plant-virus interaction using resistance-breaking viral clones and deep small RNA-ome and transcriptome sequencing and bioinformatics, (iii) diversify integrated pest management solutions against insect vectors with plant derived metabolites and against viruses with RNA vaccination of crop plants.
Stakeholder knowledge and the potential of exploitation and dissemination of the result is embedded in the consortium with full participation of two seed companies and the association with various professional organisations interested in GeMed. Larger dissemination will be done via International plant protection organisations (EPPO, ProMED).
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