Agricultural Research Organization (ARO), Volcani Center.

Located at the Volcani Center campus in Bet-Dagan, near Tel-Aviv, ARO's six institutes are responsible for Plant Sciences, Animal Science, Plant Protection, Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Engineering, and Postharvest and Food Sciences. ARO also operates four research stations, in various parts of the country, and serves as a testing center for agricultural produce and equipment. While encompassing the full range of agricultural research activities, ARO focuses in particular on arid zone agriculture.

Among ARO's areas of special expertise are:

  • agriculture under arid conditions 
  • agriculture on marginal soils 
  • irrigation using effluent and saline water 
  • crop cultivation in protected environments 
  • freshwater fish farming under conditions of water shortage 
  • minimization of produce losses through use of latest pest control and post-harvest storage methods 
  • breeding and development of new strains of crops and domestic animals better suited to the adverse conditions which already exist in many parts of the world, and which are likely to become even more prevalent in the future 

Researcher participating in EMERAMB:

  • Moshe Lapidot - principal researcher  
  • Aviv Dombrovsky 
  • Dana Gelbart 

Research interest

The focus of the group is in viruses infecting vegetable crops. Viral resistance in vegetable crops, mechanisms and genetics of viral resistance, transmission of plant viruses as well as aphid-pathogenic viruses. The main emphasis is in whitefly-transmitted viruses, and especially Tomato yellow leaf curl geminivirus (TYLCV). Tomatoes expressing very high level of TYLCV resistance were developed, together with studies of the molecular mechanisms involved in TYLCV replication and intra- and inter-cellular virus movement in the resistant host. The effect of highly resistant tomato plants on TYLCV acquisition and transmission by whiteflies was also studied. A TYLCV-resistance scale was developed, along with new methods to assess viral resistance. A molecular marker tightly-linked to the TYLCV-resistant loci known as ty-5 was developed, and the QTL was mapped to chromosome 4. The gene responsible for the Ty-5 resistance was identified.

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