Infection of soybean by the plant cytorhabdovirus soybean blotchy mosaic virus (SbBMV) results in significant yield losses in the temperate, lower-lying soybean production regions of South Africa. A 277 bp portion of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase gene of 66 SbBMV isolates from different: hosts, geographical locations in South Africa, and times of collection (spanning 16 years) were amplified by RT-PCR and sequenced to investigate the genetic diversity of isolates. Phylogenetic reconstruction revealed three main lineages, designated Groups A, B and C, with isolates grouping primarily according to geographic origin. Pairwise nucleotide identities ranged between 85.7% and 100% among all isolates, with isolates in Group A exhibiting the highest degree of sequence identity, and isolates of Groups A and B being more closely related to each other than to those in Group C. This is the first study investigating the genetic diversity of SbBMV.
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Funding was provided by the Association of African Universities (AAU), the Genomics Research Institute (GRI) at the University of Pretoria, South Africa and through the National Research Foundation Incentive Grant for Rated Scientists.
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