Plant Patent Applications Filed for First Pierce's Disease-Resistant Grapevines
California winegrape growers will soon have a powerful new tool in the fight against Pierce's disease (PD) -- five grapevine varieties resistant to the disease. The grapevines were developed by Dr. Andrew Walker at the University of California, Davis, with funding from the Pierce's Disease and Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter (PD/GWSS) Board.
"Without the long-term funding from the PD/GWSS Board, the grape breeding program wouldn't be where it is today. We would still be years away from bringing PD-resistant grapevines to market," said Dr. Walker. “We’ll continue to expand the breeding program, with a focus on multiple sources of PD resistance and powdery mildew resistance, while maintaining excellent wine quality.”
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The PD/GWSS Board has invested over $34.3 million in research since 2001 to find solutions to PD, including funding Dr. Walker’s work. “Delivering PD-resistant grapevines to California winegrape growers has long been a goal of the PD/GWSS Board,” said Keith Horn, board chairperson. “These new vines are our strongest products yet in the ongoing battle to protect vineyards from this fatal disease, giving growers greater flexibility and enabling them to get the most out of valuable vineyard property that otherwise might need to be replanted over and over. Our congratulations and thanks to Dr. Walker and his team for this noteworthy accomplishment.”
A limited number of cuttings will be made available through the University’s Foundation Plant Services (FPS) to participants in the California Grapevine Registration & Certification Program. Propagation material will be made available to nurseries that have completed licensing through UC Davis InnovationAccess. Foundation Plant Services will distribute plant material, allocating the available material if demand exceeds supply and will consider licensing nurseries outside of California, if they are licensed to sell clean plant stock and participate in their state’s grapevine registration and certification program (if any). The deadline to order plant material is February 1, with plant material allocated among all requests received at FPS by that date. Distribution will take place shortly thereafter. The FPS order form can be downloaded at: http://fps.ucdavis.edu/fgrmaterials.cfm.