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H. Brent Pemberton, Kevin Ong, Mark Windham, Jennifer Olson, and David H. Byrne

Rose rosette disease (RRD) is incited by a negative-sense RNA virus (genus Emaravirus), which is vectored by a wind-transported eriophyid mite (Phyllocoptes fructiphilus). Symptoms include witches broom/rosette-type growth, excessive prickles (thorns), discolored and distorted growth, and, unlike most other rose diseases, usually results in plant death. RRD is endemic to North America and was first described in Manitoba, Wyoming, and California in the 1940s. It has spread east with the aid of a naturalized rose species host and has become epidemic from the Great Plains to the East Coast of North America on garden roses in home and commercial landscapes where losses have been high. The disease was suggested to be incited by a virus from the beginning, but only recently has this been confirmed and the virus identified. The presence of the vector mite on roses has been associated with RRD since the first symptoms were described. However, more recently, the mite was demonstrated to be the vector of the disease and confirmed to transmit the virus itself. As a result of the RRD epidemic in North America and its effects on the national production and consumer markets for roses, a research team comprising five major universities (Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Delaware), a dozen growers and nurseries (all regions), six rose breeding programs (California, Wisconsin, Texas, and Pennsylvania), the major rose testing programs (Earth-Kind and AGRS), the major rose organization (American Rose Society), and the major trade organization AmericanHort has formed. This research project has been funded by the Specialty Crops Research Initiative through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with the short-term objective of improving and disseminating best management practices (BMPs) and the long-term goal of identifying additional sources of resistance and developing the genetic tools to quickly transfer resistance into the elite commercial rose germplasm.

Free access

Kevin Ong, Madalyn Shires, Holly Jarvis Whitaker, Jennifer Olson, Joseph LaForest, and David H. Byrne

Rose rosette disease (RRD) was first reported on the North American continent in the early 1940s. In 2011, the causal agent of this disease was identified and described—the Rose rosette virus (RRV). In the last 10 years, RRD has gained widespread notoriety because of disease symptoms appearing on many roses which are used frequently in landscape plantings, both commercial and residential. Much of the prior scientific work on this disease was carried out on the multiflora rose. Currently, the disease issues are on cultivated roses within which no cultivar has been confirmed to be resistant. There is an information gap in our knowledge of the pathogen, vector, and the disease on cultivated roses. Our goals for this project are to seek and identify potential disease tolerance or resistance in roses and increasing public awareness and knowledge of RRD with the purpose of reducing the disease spread with best management practices. Outreach and volunteer recruitment are key activities used to provide scientifically sound information, to establish the current disease range and to actively gather observational reports of RRD to identify resistant rose sources. Elements of these activities include educational meetings, factsheets, posters, and workshops where RRD symptoms recognition is emphasized. A web-based reporting tool was developed to capture observations from volunteers while continually keeping them engaged. It is hoped that through outreach and the collective monitoring effort, researchers will have access to information that contributes to a better understanding of RRD and will find disease-resistant roses that could be used in breeding programs for the continued enjoyment of roses.

Free access

David H. Byrne, Patricia Klein, Muqing Yan, Ellen Young, Jeekin Lau, Kevin Ong, Madalyn Shires, Jennifer Olson, Mark Windham, Tom Evans, and Danielle Novick

Rose rosette disease (RRD) whose causal agent, the Emaravirus Rose rosette virus (RRV), was only recently identified has caused widespread death of roses in the midwestern and eastern sections of the United States. A national research team is working on the detection and best management practices for this highly damaging disease. Unfortunately, little is known about the host plant resistance to either the causal viral agent or its vector, the eriophyid mite Phyllocoptes fructiphilus. Thus far, the only confirmed resistance is among Rosa species. Of the over 600 rose cultivars observed, only 7% have not exhibited symptoms of RRD. Replicated trials are in progress to confirm resistance and/or susceptibility of ≈300 rose accessions in Tennessee and Delaware. Rose is a multispecies cultivated complex that consists of diploid, triploid, and tetraploid cultivars. The basic breeding cycle is 4 years with a 3-year commercial trial coupled with mass propagation before release. Thus, if only one breeding cycle is needed, a new cultivar could be produced in 7 years. Unfortunately, for the introgression of a new trait such as disease resistance from a related species into the commercial rose germplasm, multiple generations are required which can easily take two decades from the first cross to cultivar release. Research is ongoing to develop a rapid selection procedure for resistance to RRD with the aid of molecular markers associated with the resistance. Such an approach has the potential of reducing the breeding cycle time by 50% and increasing the efficiency of seedling and parental selection manifold, leading to commercially acceptable rose cultivars with high RRD resistance in less time and with less expense.