Hawaii’s Transgenic Papaya Story 1978–2012: A Personal Account

Part of the Plant Genetics and Genomics: Crops and Models book series (PGG, volume 10)


In May 1998, papaya ring spot virus (PRSV)-resistant transgenic “Rainbow” and “SunUp” papaya were released to growers and helped save the papaya industry in Hawaii. This review provides a personal account of the Hawaii transgenic papaya story from 1978 to 2012. It traces the general technical development of the papaya, but more importantly, it provides a personal account of the events in the story. These events include the rationale to proactively develop control methods in the event the PRSV would enter Puna, where 95 % of Hawaii’s papaya were being grown in 1992; the formation and motivation of the research team; the coinciding of the transgenic papaya development with the invasion of Puna by PRSV; the deregulation and commercialization of the transgenic papaya in the US; and the long road to its deregulation and commercialization in Japan. And it describes activities in the “red zone” of translational biotechnology.


Coat Protein Cucumber Mosaic Virus Coat Protein Gene Embryogenic Tissue Watermelon Mosaic Virus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I am fortunate to have been associated with many people that contributed to the papaya story. They are too many to name and I undoubtedly missed a number of them in the text of the story. I thank all of you as I complete my involvement in the Hawaii transgenic papaya story and wish good fortunes to those that will continue. I specifically thank Carol my wife who has been with me throughout this entire story. Most importantly, Rickie Deniz, a true friend that I had for such a short time, showed me how to really get things done in the “red zone.”


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research ServicePacific Basin Agricultural Research CenterHiloUSA

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