Feature

Vive la resistant vines!

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Science  12 Oct 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6411, pp. 146
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6411.146

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Summary

Vineyards use a lot of fungicides to fight mildew and bacterial diseases. The most common products, based on sulfur and copper, can contaminate soil, whereas lower-dose synthetic fungicides tend to be a concern for human health. A few growers in France have planted mildew-resistant grapevines from other countries—because these varieties need only a tenth as much fungicide as traditional French varieties—but these foreign grapevines have shortcomings. Plant breeders are developing new resistant varieties for the major regions in France. Although vineyards only replant a small fraction each year, the new varieties could eventually make a major contribution to France's national effort to reduce agricultural pesticides.