, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 251-258
Date: 04 Jan 2008

Diversity and prevalence of Brazilian bipartite begomovirus species associated to tomatoes

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Information on the distribution and prevalence of the economically destructive Begomovirus species and recombinant forms infecting fresh-market and processing tomato crops in Brazil is crucial in guiding breeding programs and also to understand the evolutionary mechanisms associated with the upsurge of so many species and quasi-species comprising this unique disease complex. An extensive survey was carried out over 3 years (between 2002 and 2004) aiming to study the diversity of begomoviruses in tomato plants, predominantly collected in central Brazil. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with degenerated primers was used to detect the begomoviruses in tomato leaf samples showing virus-like symptoms in commercial fields. Seven hundred and seventeen out of 2,295 samples were found to be PCR positive for a begomovirus infection. High quality sequences were obtained from a fragment encompassing the 5′ region of the coat protein (CP) gene and a segment of the intergenic region for 295 isolates from distinct geographic regions. Comparison analyses with those available in public databases enabled preliminary classification of the isolates into four previously described and/or proposed species: Tomato severe rugose virus (61%), Tomato golden vein virus (29.8%), Tomato mottle leaf curl virus (7.1%), Tomato yellow vein streak virus (0.7%), and two putative new species (1.4% of isolates). Within the prevailing species, we noted a relatively low degree of diversity, possibly indicating the existence of recent population founder effects and/or recent selective sweeps.