McGregor Lab part of research study aimed at whitefly management

The McGregor Lab at UGA will collaborate with researchers from three research institutions to use a grant from the USDA to fight whiteflies on vegetable crops. The grant funds scientists from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Fort Valley State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service in Charleston, S.C. to conduct white fly research in five areas of expertise: plant resistant traits; ecology, biocontrol, & cultural practice; viruses & transmission dynamics; molecular tools & biotechnology; and insecticide resistance & biorational control products. Cecilia McGregor and her lab group will be involved with research on Plant resistant traits and Molecular tools & biotechnology.

Researchers will focus specifically on vegetable systems and find long-term sustainable solutions to manage whiteflies and whitefly-transmitted virus complexes. There are three whitefly-transmitted viral pathogens, which are known to reduce the quality of vegetable crops, specifically cucurbits: cucurbit leaf crumple virus, cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus and sida golden mosaic virus. VSCNews

Whiteflies are responsible for transmitting multiple viruses, including cucurbit leaf crumple virus and cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus. According to UGA crop loss estimates for fall 2017, these viruses caused between 30% and 50% crop loss in squash and cucumbers.  Morning Ag Clips

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whiteflies on the underside of a cucurbit leaf.

Whiteflies infest fall cucurbits.