Rose rosette disease (RRD) whose causal agent, the
Emaravirus Rose rosette virus(RRV), was only recently identified has caused widespread death of roses in the midwestern and eastern sections of the United States. A national research team is working on the detection and best management practices for this highly damaging disease. Unfortunately, little is known about the host plant resistance to either the causal viral agent or its vector, the eriophyid mite Phyllocoptes fructiphilus. Thus far, the only confirmed resistance is among Rosaspecies. Of the over 600 rose cultivars observed, only 7% have not exhibited symptoms of RRD. Replicated trials are in progress to confirm resistance and/or susceptibility of 300 rose accessions in Tennessee and Delaware. Rose is a multispecies cultivated complex that consists of diploid, triploid, and tetraploid cultivars. The basic breeding cycle is 4 years with a 3-year commercial trial coupled with mass propagation before release. Thus, if only one breeding cycle is needed, a new cultivar could be produced in 7 years. Unfortunately, for the introgression of a new trait such as disease resistance from a related species into the commercial rose germplasm, multiple generations are required which can easily take two decades from the first cross to cultivar release. Research is ongoing to develop a rapid selection procedure for resistance to RRD with the aid of molecular markers associated with the resistance. Such an approach has the potential of reducing the breeding cycle time by 50% and increasing the efficiency of seedling and parental selection manifold, leading to commercially acceptable rose cultivars with high RRD resistance in less time and with less expense.