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Syngenta to introduce ToBRFV resistant varieties in early 2021

16/12/2020 - François-Xavier Branthôme - Lire en français
Breeding for the future in tomatoes

Syngenta Vegetable Seeds announced on 30 November the launch of its first commercial Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) resistant variety, available in early 2021. The new variety will be released in areas where growers face severe disease pressure from the virus and will support against crop losses.

The Syngenta Vegetables R&D team is ahead of the curve with the launch of the first commercial ToBRFV resistant variety,” explains Ruud Kaagman, Global Crop Unit Head for tomatoes. “Following this launch, we will aim to introduce varieties with resistance to ToBRFV across our breeding programs and across the globe. Broad resistance will be built in the portfolio during the next several years.”

Syngenta is committed to adding value to vegetable products using innovative technology solutions. Technology drives faster, more efficient and accurate variety developments – allowing to better serve growers and partners along the value chain with unique traits that create greater appeal and consumption.

 Different levels of resistance to ToBRFV exist in Syngenta’s current germplasm, but with modern technology, the R&D team discovered and targeted the specific genes related to the resistance. “With fast development and use of molecular markers, Syngenta is able to rapidly make use of this resistance, deploying it in a large range of varieties; spreading the resistance in our germplasm. Before the utilization of molecular markers, it could take up to ten years to develop a resistant variety. With broad use of molecular technology, Syngenta can more accurately and quickly breed a resistant variety,” says Pilar Checa, Global Breeding Lead for tomato.
"The first varieties that are being introduced are equipped with one specific resistant source. In order to build a more broad resilience and because we've seen that a resistance based upon a single source can be broken more easily, we're breeding in multiple resistant genes and sources. This way the virus will be banned on multiple levels.

On whether the resistance will be Intermediate (IR) or High (HR), the team decided to claim IR for this first introduction. "The intermediate level is reached for sure, but since there are no specific official protocols and references on when a variety is HR for ToBRFV, it is too early to claim HR at this point of time.”

ToBRFV is a newly discovered tobamovirus related to Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) and Tomato mosaic virus (ToMV). The very stable and very infectious virus infects both tomatoes and peppers. Tobamoviruses are mechanically transmitted (contact disease) within and between crops by people and equipment. Symptoms caused by ToBRFV in tomato are similar to those caused by other tobamoviruses in susceptible plants: mosaic pattern on leaves, narrowing of leaves, necrosis on pedicle, calyces or petioles and/or yellow spots on the fruits. This impacts the quality and yield for growers significantly.

"The introduction of this breakthrough ToBRFV resistant variety signals our global dedication to supporting our growers and partners", the team concludes. "With more than 350 different varieties of tomato available to growers all over the world, we understand the importance of developing a range of performing varieties to meet the diverse needs of our network of growers."

To meet these needs, Syngenta prioritizes linking technology and people to ensure high-value vegetable crops reach their full genetic potential. "With our resources and scale, it drives innovation to improve flavor, quality, convenience and productivity – for the benefits of growers, marketers, retailers and consumers." 

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