Lethal Yellowing: Research and Practical Aspects

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When I received an invitation to attend the International Symposium on Lethal Yellowing being organised by the Centro de Investigacion Cientifica de Yucatan (CICy), I was excited and a little nostalgic. During the 1970s, a series of similar symposia had been held under the auspices of the loosely-constituted International Council on Lethal Yellowing (ICL Y). These were the years when the MLO cause for L Y was first proposed, a vector was found, the disease was racing across mainland Florida, USA and it was suspected of having jumped to Cozumel. Analogous diseases were also reported to be spreading in Africa and elsewhere. The ICL Y meetings, held approximately every two years, proved to be an immensely valuable forum for all involved in the research and control of L Y. They attracted a very wide cross-section of scientists and practitioners working on L Y, on related diseases, and on palms in general. Many participants of those ICL Y meetings also attended this CICY Symposium. Unfortunately, during the 1980s, as countries learned to live with L Y, most of the national and international funding for L Y research dried up, and so did ICL Y. The present symposium is the only international meeting to have been devoted to L Y since the last meeting of rCLY in 1979. Its convening in Merida is timely.