Emerging Viruses in Cucurbits

Several whitefly-transmitted cucurbit viruses have recently emerged in the United States and are quickly spreading to new production areas, including cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus (CYSDV; GA (2018), SC (2020), AL (2021)), cucurbit chlorotic yellows virus (CCYV; CA (2019), TX (2021), GA (2021), AL (2021)), cucurbit leaf crumple virus (CuLCrV; SC (2018)), and squash vein yellowing virus (SqVYV; CA (2014), TX (2021)). These and other viruses, such as cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV; CA (2014)), are also emerging in cucurbit-producing areas globally. The rapid introduction of these viruses into new areas is of great concern to the cucurbit industry and impacts disease management and the development of resistant varieties, especially as mixed infections are becoming increasingly prevalent.

On August 3, 2021, the Plant Health 2021 Idea Café  hosted a discussion titled,“Emerging Viruses in Cucurbits”.  The large number of attendees at this idea café illustrates the level of concern in the cucurbit industry over the increasing emergence and spread of viruses infecting cucurbit crops in the U.S., as well as globally. During the idea café, three primary topics were discussed:

  1. Potential risk factors for viruses affecting cucurbits
  2. Regional/local threats and outreach activities
  3. Approaches that can be implemented to mitigate threats

If you missed this idea café and were a registrant of Plant Health 2021, you can log in to view a recording of the idea café.

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Additionally, we invite you to join us in a follow-up meeting on Friday, October 1, 2021, from 10 am to 12 pm Central Time (Chicago time for those not in the U.S.) to expand on the discussion initiated during Plant Health 2021.  This meeting is open to all with an interest in management of viruses affecting cucurbit production, including those who did not attend the initial idea café. This follow-up meeting will include a brief overview of emerging viruses in cucurbits as well as the idea café discussion, but will focus on gathering additional input, particularly from breeders, entomologists, and producers/producer associations, as to how the cucurbit industry can move forward and work together (e.g. education, research, best practices, etc.) to reduce the introduction and spread of viruses and to limit the impact of these viruses in areas where they are present.  We will be joined by two experts who will highlight the challenges that multiple virus infections pose to breeding programs and the risks associated with virus spread into new areas. We encourage you to share this invitation with others who may be interested in this event.

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