The establishment of a forum for discussion of viruses and other graft transmissible diseases dates back to a meeting in 1954 in Wädenswil, Switzerland. This meeting was entitled Symposium on Fruit Tree Virus Diseases and was held by a small group of international plant pathologists interested in the few virus diseases of deciduous fruit trees then known to occur in Europe and North America. The subsequent meetings became progressively wider in scope and increasingly concerned with viruses per se and virus diseases of fruit trees and small fruit crops worldwide. Furthermore, the scope of these meetings came to include diseases caused by phytoplasmas and viroids when these organisms were identified as new and serious pathogens of fruit crops. From the very first meeting, a scientific committee responsible for organizing the meetings was established. It consisted of the local organizers of subsequent meetings and other leading scientists in the field. In 1973 the organizing committee accepted the invitation of the International Society for Horticultural Science to become one of the working groups set up by its Plant Protection Commission. This meeting was entitled IXth International Symposium on Fruit Tree Virus Diseases. Proceedings of the first eight meetings were published as supplements of different phytopathological journals. Extended abstracts were published for the meetings in 1954 and in 1958. With one exception, the proceedings since the 9th meeting were published by ISHS in Acta Horticulturae. Although research on virus diseases of strawberry was already a topic at the 1954 meeting, a separate symposium title on virus diseases of small fruit crops was established at the 1976 conference in Heidelberg, Germany. In 2009 the XXIst International Conference on Virus and other Graft Transmissible Diseases of Fruit Crops was held in Neustadt, Germany. The chronological order of meeting places that have hosted the Symposia is:

 

1954 - Wädenswil, Switzerland

1955 - Wageningen, The Netherlands

1956 - East Malling, United Kingdom

1960 - Lyngby, Denmark

1962 - Bologna, Italy

1965 - Belgrade, Yugoslavia

1967 - Aschersleben, Germany

1970 - Bordeaux, France

1973 - East Malling, United Kingdom

1976 - Heidelberg, Germany

1979 - Budapest, Hungary

1982 - Vancouver, Canada

1985 - Bordeaux, France

1988 - Thessaloniki, Greece

1991 - Vienna, Austria

1994 - Rome, Italy

1997 - Bethesda, USA

2000 - Canterbury, United Kingdom

2003 - Valencia, Spain

2006 - Antalya, Turkey

2009 - Neustadt, Germany

2012 - Rome, Italy

2015 - Morioka, Japan

2017 - Thessaloniki, Greece 

 

After discussions and approval by the current Scientific Committee it was decided to return to a meeting organization outside the auspices of an international organization and, thus, the 2009 conference was held not in association with the ISHS. At the same time it seemed appropriate to identify and establish a new title for the conference. The goal was to establish one name covering both the Tree Fruit and Small Fruit Crops subject areas and to include viroid and phytoplasma diseases, that previously were referred to as virus-like diseases when little or no information was available on these pathogens.The Scientific Committee therefore decided to hold the 2009 and future meetings under the title International Conference on Virus and other Graft Transmissible Diseases of Fruit Crops.