The year was 2008. Eli Manning captivated the country during Superbowl XLII with a game-winning fourth quarter drive to stun the undefeated New England Patriots. Illinois Senator, Barack Obama, was elected the 44th President of the United States and two fellas by the name of Flo Rida and T-Pain had the number one song in the country with “Low.”
2008 was also the year Roundup Ready® sugarbeets revolutionized the sugarbeet industry.
The sugarbeet curly top virus could meet its match in new sugarbeet varieties derived from KDH13, a germplasm breeding line developed by USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) researchers for resistance to the disease-causing pathogen.
Transmitted by small insects called beet leafhoppers, the curly top virus courses through the phloem of susceptible beet plants, wreaking cellular havoc that can manifest as yellow, inwardly curled leaves; stunted growth; and other telltale symptoms. Severe outbreaks of curly top disease can reduce sugarbeet yields by 30% or more.
Spraying insecticides can prevent leafhoppers from transmitting the virus to plants while feeding; but the preferred approach is to plant sugar-beet varieties that naturally resist the pathogen, notes Imad Eujayl, a molecular biologist with ARS’s Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research Lab at Kimberly, Idaho.
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