26 Jul 2013

Search for kiwifruit vine disease solutions in DNA study

1:37 pm on 26 July 2013

Scientists analysing the DNA of the kiwifruit disease PSA have found it is likely to have had it's origins in Asia.

Researchers from Plant and Food Research and Massey University have been collaborating with scientists from Germany, Switzerland and Canada, to learn more about where the vine-killing bacterium came from and how it might be resisted in the long term.

They found the PSA-V strain, which has caused serious losses in New Zealand and Italy, is one of four that stemmed from a single source, probably somewhere in Asia, where kiwifruit originated.

Plant and Food science leader Dr Erik Rikkerink says analysing the genome sequence of the PSA bacterium will help in developing new ways of controlling the disease and breeding more resistant kiwifruit varieties.

Dr Rikkerink says the hope is the new gold kiwifruit cultivar growers are introducing will provide better medium term protection while the search for more resistant varieties goes on.