He said that the papaya ring spot virus (PRSV) causes a crop loss in the range of 30% to 70%. It affects production and productivity by decreasing the photosynthetic capacity of the plants, which results in stunted growth, decrease in sugar concentration, deformed and inedible fruit, and plant mortality.
The virus is transmitted between plants by mechanical activities like pruning and by insect vectors - Myzus pericae and Aphis gossypii. It also survives on cucurbitaceous crops like squash, cucumber, pumpkin.
Monsantos technology facilitates the development of transgenic PRSV-resistant papaya, which would contain a virus coat protein for developing resistance to the virus. In other words, a protein gene from the pathogen is used to fight against the pathogen itself, similar to the way vaccines immunise human beings against different diseases, said the Monsantos chief of India operations, Sekhar Natarajan.