Development of roses resistant to rose rosette disease

Period of Performance: 06/09/2015 - 12/31/2015


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

25 LEWIS RD Array
West Grove, PA 19390
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


The ornamental sector is the most valuable non-food crop sector of US agriculture. However, changing climates and increased interstate commerce have increased the ease with which diseases can spread and threaten this valuable industry. In the past few decades, Rose Rosette Disease (RRD) has spread from its source in the Rockies, through the Mid-West to the South and major populations centers of the East coast. It now threatens to decimate the US rose industry and severely impact the multi-billion dollar nursery and landscape industry. Garden and landscape roses account for approximately $400 million of wholesale US domestic bare root and container production and form the corner stone of the shrub industry. There is, therefore, an urgent need for the control of RRD. It has devastated plantings in several key botanical gardens and other large public and private rose plantings. Unlike other rose diseases it results in death of rose plantings within two to three years of infection. Recent discoveries indicate that RRD is caused by a novel plant virus strain that is spread long distances by windborn eriophyid mites.The objective of this USDA-SBIR Phase I proposal is to take the first step in developing roses that are resistant to Rose Rosette disease. To achieve our objective, we will use gene transfer technology to transfer genes that specifically target the RRD virus. We have laid the commercial groundwork for this work by working with major universities, industry trade organizations, growers and state extension agents throughout the nation and developing all the necessary gene constructs.