Moshe Lapidot has been a researcher with the Department of Vegetable and Field Crops, Institute of Plant Sciences, Volcani Center, Agricultural Research Organization, Israel since 1993.
Dr. Lapidot’s research has focused on viral resistance in vegetable crops, including screening for viral resistances in wild-type plants, introgression of the desired trait into domesticated plants, and breeding for viral resistance, as well as research aimed at understanding the genetic and molecular control of the resistant traits.
A main emphasis of his research is whitefly-transmitted viruses, 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. He also studied the effect of highly resistant tomato plants on TYLCV acquisition and transmission by whiteflies. 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.
Studies with two other whitefly-transmitted geminiviruses (begomoviruses), Watermelon chlorotic stunt virus (WmCSV) and Squash leaf curl virus (SLCV), have demonstrated that double infection of melon plants with both of these viruses causes a severe synergistic effect, which nearly destroys the infected plants. His work also includes the development of IPM methods, such as the use of UV-absorbing screens, to inhibit whitefly spread and consequent virus transmission.