North Texas Scientists Aim to Win a $50M (and Climbing) War on the Roses

A virus called Rose Rosette is wreaking havoc for the horticulture industry. Thanks to virus cloning, a team of scientists may have a solution.

A virus called Rose Rosette has cost the horticulture industry $50 million over five years, and “North Texas is ground zero,” according to D CEO magazine.

One city known as “The Rose Capital of America”—Tyler—has nearly given up on planting the flower. And a few years back, the Fort Worth Botanic Garden had to discard all the roses in its garden—some 1,000 plants. That’s due to a mite the size of a speck of dust that spreads the deadly virus, Jeff Bounds writes. 


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A team of scientists and researchers, led by Jeanmarie Verchot, a Texas A&M plant pathology professor, is tackling the issue and may have a solution, thanks to virus cloning. Now the team looks to bring their creation to market while seeking patents for their inventions.

Verchot came to Dallas two years ago and is “incorporating her experience running a startup centered on protective technology for canna lilies, decorative flowers that can resemble irises,” Bounds reports.

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