Panicum streak virus (PanSV; genus Mastrevirus, family Geminiviridae) is, together with maize streak virus (MSV), sugarcane streak virus (SSV), sugarcane streak Reunion virus (SSRV) and sugarcane streak Egypt virus (SSEV), one of the currently described “African streak virus” (AfSV) species . As with all the other AfSV species other than MSV, very little is known about PanSV genomic sequence diversity across Africa. Only two PanSV full genome sequences have ever been reported: one from Kenya , and the other from South Africa . Both these genomes were isolated from Panicum maximum plants, but share only approximately 90% sequence identity. The reason this is noteworthy is that throughout mainland Africa all MSV genomes ever sampled from maize have been found to share >97% sequence identity. Although other MSV strains sharing between 78 and 90% identity with the maize-adapted strain (MSV-A) have been described, these have all been isolated from different host species, indicating that host adaptation is probably the main force driving MSV diversification. MSV and PanSV share common vector species (leafhoppers in the genus Cicadulina) and probably also share some host species. Although the host range of PanSV is currently unknown, the MSV host range is extensive and includes P. maximum . One might therefore expect that similar evolutionary forces acting on both species might result in their sharing similar patterns of both geographical and host-associated diversity. Here we describe the full genome sequences of five new PanSV isolates (including two new strains) sampled from southern and western Africa, and report that PanSV and MSV do indeed have similar patterns of diversity. We find, however, that unlike with MSV, geographical separation rather than host adaptation is possibly the dominant force driving PanSV diversification.
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This research was partially funded by the National Research Foundation (South Africa). AV is supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. DNS is supported by PANNAR (Pty) Ltd; DPM is supported by the Harry Oppenheimer Trust and the Sydney Brenner Fellowship. PL is supported by the French Ministère de la Recherche et de l’Enseignement supérieur; BO is supported by the Rockefeller foundation through the USHEPiA programme; ALM is supported by the Canon Collins Trust for Southern Africa and a University of Cape Town International Scholarship.
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