TRANSGENIC TOMATOES EXPRESSING A CUCUMBER MOSAIC VIRUS SATELLITE RNA: FIELD TESTING AND ANALYSIS OF SATELLITE RNA SPREAD
M.M. Monti, S. Valanzuolo, G. Cassani , M. Colombo
Transgenic ‘San Marzano’ tomato lines transformed with a chimeric gene expressing a benign satellite RNA of Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV) were tested under conditions of natural infection, in southern Italy. Agronomic performance, virus susceptibility and spread of transgenic satellite RNA were monitored during the test. ELISAs and yield measurements showed that virus incidence was slightly lower in transgenic plants compared to controls. Satellite RNA was detected in melon, zucchini and pepper plants grown in the surroundings of the release site. Spread of the benign satellite RNA from transgenic tomatoes to surrounding host plants did not increase disease incidence or disease phenotype.