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Poster: Epidemiology: Pathogen-Vector Interations


Transovarial and Sexual Transmission of Tomato yellow leaf curl virus in Whiteflies
W. MARCHANT (1), R. Srinivasan (1) (1) University of Georgia, U.S.A.

Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) is whitefly-transmitted Geminivirus that causes yield losses in tomato crops. The virus is persistently transmitted by the sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci. The virus is considered non-propagative and non-transmissible transovarially or through mating. Feeding on infected plant tissue is the only method of acquisition according to most of the literature. However, a few recent studies from Israel demonstrate transovarial and sexual transmission of TYLCV as well as propagation within the whitefly. We have tested to see if transovarial and sexual transmission occur with the whiteflies and TYLCV present in Georgia using both molecular methods and plant transmission experiments. We found a very low rate of transovarial and sexual transmission suggesting negligible impact on virus epidemics. COI sequences from our local Bemisia tabaci and full-length TYLCV genomes have been compared with sequences from Israel available on GenBank. Our B. tabaci COI haplotype is present in Israel, but differences in the TYLCV genome were found at the amino acid level. These differences could potentially explain the differences seen in insect-virus interactions.