, Volume 114, Issue 3, pp 293-299

Spread of Tomato yellow leaf curl virus in Sicily: Partial Displacement of Another Geminivirus Originally Present

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The geminivirus Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) was reported for the first time in Italy in 2002. We have followed its spread in Sicily, where Tomato yellow leaf curl Sardinia virus (TYLCSV), another tomato-infecting geminivirus, is endemic and has been causing severe crop losses since 1989. The presence of the two viruses was monitored in the main tomato growing area, the Ragusa province, analyzing samples with yellow leaf curling symptoms. At first (spring–summer 2002) both viruses were always found in mixed infections, but in 2003 and 2004 18–35% of plants were found infected by TYLCV alone and 8–28% by TYLCSV alone, with 41–69% carrying both viruses. TYLCV has spread quickly in the area, demonstrating, as in other parts of the world, its high virulence and invasiveness; however it has not, so far, completely displaced TYLCSV. An infectious clone of TYLCV from Sicily (TYLCV-IT) was sequenced. The nucleotide sequence was 97% identical to other TYLCV strains of the ‘severe’ type, found in many countries worldwide.