Rice yellow mottle virus (RYMV, genus Sobemovirus) is a major biotic constraint to rice production in Africa. First reported in Kenya in 1966, RYMV was later found in most countries in Africa where rice (Oryza sativa, O. glaberrima) is grown (4). In the Central African Republic, the disease has never been reported in rice fields. In October 2011, plants with leaf yellowing and mottling symptoms were observed in large irrigated rice production schemes about 30 km west of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, and in lowland subsistence fields in Bangui outskirts. Disease incidence was estimated at 5 to 10%, causing small patches in the fields. Mechanical inoculation with extracts of symptomatic leaves reproduced the typical yellow mottle symptoms on the susceptible O. sativa cultivar BG90-2 6 to 9 days after inoculation. Symptomatic leaves of 12 cultivated plants collected in seed beds or in fields reacted positively when tested by ELISA with polyclonal antisera raised against a Madagascan isolate of RYMV (1). Discriminating monoclonal antibodies showed that the samples contained RYMV serotype 1, a serotype found in West and Central Africa (1). Total RNA was extracted by the RNeasy Plant Mini kit (QIAGEN, Hilden, Germany) from six samples. The 720-nt RYMV coat protein gene was amplified by reverse transcriptase (RT)-PCR with primers 5′CTCCCCCACCCATCCCGAGAATT3′ and 5′CAAAGATGGCCAGGAA3′ (2). RT-PCR products were directly sequenced and sequences were deposited in GenBank (Accession Nos. KF054740 through KF054745). These six sequences showed over 98% identity with each other, and were found to be closely related to sequences of isolates from Chad and Cameroon in Central Africa (3). Knowledge of the presence of RYMV in the Central African Republic is important since rice cultivation has intensified in this country. In addition, rice is also increasingly considered as one of the main staple crops in the country.
References: (1) D. Fargette et al. Arch. Virol. 147:583, 2002. (2) A. Pinel et al. Arch. Virol. 145:1621, 2000. (3) O. Traoré et al. Plant Dis. 96:1230, 2001. (4) O. Traoré et al. Virus Res. 141:258, 2009.
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