Pierce’s Disease Research Symposium Focuses on Progress


Sacramento, Calif., December 11, 2006 – For the sixth year, researchers from around the world met the last week of November during the annual Pierce’s Disease (PD) Research Symposium in San Diego to discuss their research efforts in finding a solution to PD.

“It was truly great to hear from such a diverse group of researchers about the progress they are making on so many different fronts in our fight against PD. It is evidence that our investments in research are paying off,” said PD/GWSS Board Chairman Pete Downs.

During the Symposium, attendees heard about advances being made in the areas of developing PD-resistant wine grapevines and methods of inoculating vines against PD, as well as advancements being made in disease and vector management, monitoring and biology.

The two-day Pierce’s Disease Research Symposium drew over 150 people. It was coordinated by the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pierce’s Disease Control Program and partially supported by the PD/GWSS Board. It is held annually to facilitate the flow of information, accelerate progress and increase scientific collaboration.

“Research is paving the way for us to manage Pierce’s disease, and hopefully it may someday also find a solution,” said Bob Wynn, head of CDFA’s Pierce’s Disease Control Program.  “The Symposium provides all of our researchers with an ideal setting to report on their advancements and to network with other researchers.  It also acts as a catalyst to help these scientists generate new ideas about how they can help growers deal with Pierce’s disease and the glassy-winged sharpshooter.”

As part of the PD Research Symposium, a 321-page proceedings was published. Copies of the proceedings can be downloaded from the CDFA Web site at www.cdfa.ca.gov/gwss/.

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The PD/GWSS Board was established in July 2001 to support scientific research to find a cure for Pierce’s disease. An annual assessment paid by winegrape growers supports its research efforts.  The PD/GWSS Board also advises the California Department of Food and Agriculture on a variety of other issues pertaining to Pierce’s disease and the Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter.

The work of the Board is underlined by the fact that Pierce’s disease has no known cure and, if left unchecked, could be devastating to the grape industry and several other California crops. A study released in 2006 by the Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers showed that the total annual economic impact of California’s winegrape industry is estimated at $51.8 billion.

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