10 February 2023

New Hibiscus Viruses

Do they pose a threat to the survival of hibiscus in Hawaiʻi?

New Hibiscus Viruses

Hibiscus betacarmovirus and hibiscus soymovirus are two new viruses discovered on Oʻahu by John Hu, Michael Melzer, and Xupeng Wang of the Dept. of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences.

“The main concern is whether these viruses infect and impact our native hibiscus, some of which are threatened and endangered,” says Mike. “Cleaning tools when pruning hedges will help to prevent the spread of the mechanically-spread viruses.”

John adds, “We plan to do more virus surveys including testing the mother plants at the propagation (the breeding of specimens) site.”

* Read the full UH News story.
* View the coverage on Hawaiʻi News Now, KHON-2, Star-Advertiser, and other media outlets.
* Read the full study, First Detection and Genome Characterization of a New RNA Virus, Hibiscus Betacarmovirus, and a New DNA Virus, Hibiscus Soymovirus, Naturally Infecting Hibiscus spp. in Hawaiʻi, which appears in the journal Viruses.

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