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Emerging Plant Viruses: a Diversity of Mechanisms and Opportunities

  • Maria R. Rojas
  • Robert L. Gilbertson
Chapter

Although emerging plant viruses receive much less publicity than their animal- or human-infecting cousins, they pose a serious threat to worldwide agricultural production. These viruses can be new (i.e., not previously known) or already known; however, they share the common characteristic of occupying and spreading within new niches. Factors driving the emergence of plant viruses include genetic variability in the virus, changes in agricultural practices, increases in the population and/or distribution of insect vectors and long-distance transport of plant materials. In recent years, individual as well as entire groups of viruses have emerged, and this has involved a variety of mechanism(s), depending on the virus and the environment. Here, we will discuss some of these viruses, and highlight the mechanisms that have mediated their emergence. Special emphasis is placed upon the whiteflytransmitted geminiviruses (begomoviruses) and the thrips-transmitted tosposviruses, which have emerged as major threats to crop production throughout the world. Other examples include the recent emergence of novel viruslike agents, the acquisition and role of satellite DNA or RNA molecules in emergence of plant viruses, and cases where emerging viruses have had only a transient impact. It seems clear that global movement of plant materials, expansion of agriculture and large-scale monoculture will continue to favor emergence of plant viruses. However, improved diagnostics should allow for rapid identification of emerging viruses and better understanding of viral biology. This information can be used in the development of effective management strategies, which will hopefully minimize impact on agricultural production.

Keywords

Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus Tomato Spot Wilt Virus Tomato Yellow Leaf Cassava Mosaic Disease Iris Yellow Spot Virus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria R. Rojas
    • 1
  • Robert L. Gilbertson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant PathologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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