‘Peacework’ is a new open-pollinated, early red bell pepper cultivar with Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) resistance developed for and within organic systems. Development of this cultivar was conducted at Cornell University's Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics in Ithaca, NY, and Freeville Organic Research Farm in Freeville, NY, as well as at the farms of members of the Organic Seed Partnership (OSP) and in cooperation with the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York. ‘Peacework’ is well adapted to northeastern and northwestern U.S. growing conditions and also provides CMV resistance that could be transferred to peppers adapted to organic production in other environments. The performance and quality of ‘Peacework’ is comparable to ‘King of the North’, a cultivar popular for organic production in the Northeast. The pedigree of ‘Peacework’ potentially combines several taxonomically distinct sources of CMV resistance and tolerance, which would increase the degree and durability of resistance to this economically important virus. ‘Peacework’ was evaluated for yield, size, earliness, and fruit wall thickness in organic replicated trials in Oregon in 2006 and in New York in 2007 and for flavor, productivity, and fruit quality by members of the OSP, who trialed ‘Peacework’ on their farms.
‘Peacework’ was developed to be a Cucumber mosaic virus-resistant pepper similar to ‘King of the North’, a bell pepper cultivar recognized as being popular among organic growers in the northeastern United States. Existing CMV-resistant bell lines developed at Cornell University were used as the source of resistance to introduce CMV resistance to ‘King of the North’. To ensure the resistant cultivar would meet their needs and be an acceptable alternative to ‘King of the North’, a network of organic growers was organized to trial these varieties on their farms and participate in the final selections.
Cucumber mosaic virus is a widespread pathogen that infects more than 1200 plant species and is readily transmitted by more than 80 species of aphids (Palukaitis and Garcia-Arenal, 2003). The wide plant host range makes cucumber mosaic a disease that is particularly difficult to control; weeds may act as reservoirs for the virus and there are few options for rotation crops that would not perpetuate the virus in growers' fields (http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/). Furthermore, CMV can alter resistance responses to other viruses such as Pepper mottle virus when plants are coinfected with both viruses (Guerini and Murphy, 1999; Murphy and Kyle, 1995). Sources of resistance to CMV have been identified in pepper, but the inheritance of the trait is complex and the development of new resistant varieties is not straightforward (Ben Chaim et al., 2001; Greenleaf, 1986; Grube et al., 2000).
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