The Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center at Texas A&M University announces the release of ‘TAM Ben Villalon’, a multiple-virus resistant, mildly hot Anaheim-type pepper (Capsicum annuum L.). Very few Anaheim or New Mexico pod cultivars possess resistance to potyviruses (Greenleaf, 1986; Villalon, 1981). The project to breed virus-resistant peppers at the Texas A&M Agricultural Experiment Station–Weslaco began in 1971. Several cultivars of virus-resistant peppers have been released over the last 20 years (Villalon, 1983; Villalon et al., 1992, 1994). The production of hot and sweet peppers in Texas has fluctuated from 1200 to 7000 ha over the last 30 years. Currently, close to 3000 ha of hot peppers are cultivated statewide (U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2010). One of the most persistent problems of pepper production in south Texas has been virus infection. The two most serious virus pathogens are Tobacco etch virus (TEV) and Pepper mottle virus (PepMoV), both transmitted primarily by the cotton aphid (Aphis gossipyi Glover) and the green peach aphid (Myzus persicae Sulzer). Historically, most pepper cultivars grown in south Texas have been susceptible to local strains of both TEV and PepMoV. Yield reductions from infected plants have been as high as 45%, particularly when fruit is intended for the fresh market (Greenleaf, 1986). The best solution to the problem is the development of resistant cultivars with high-quality fruit. Multiple sources of single resistance genes against these potyviruses have been documented in various germplasm lines (Cook, 1960; Greenleaf, 1956; Kyle and Palloix, 1997; Zitter and Cook, 1973).
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U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service 2010 22 Feb. 2010 <http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Texas/index.asp>.