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Reverse genetics and virus epidemiology: Integrating basic and applied research for disease management
T. THEKKE-VEETIL (1). (1) Department of Plant Pathology, Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas System., Fayetteville, AR, U.S.A.

Diseases caused by plant viruses result in substantial economic damage worldwide and pose serious threats to food security. Increases in international trade and the effect of climate change on virus epidemiology have impacted the dynamics of disease occurrence and resulted in emergence of viral diseases. These developments call for comprehensive science-based approaches for effective control and management of viral diseases. Genomic techniques like next-generation sequencing and advanced molecular detection tools have significantly improved the identification of new viruses and certification programs. Development of virus resistant or vector resistant plants through approaches that disrupt viral, plant or vector components essential for disease cycle also offers a promising future. Reverse genetics is a powerful approach to study the intricacies of plant-viral-vector interactions at molecular level. My research work aligns with the goal of disease prevention and management by focusing on both epidemiology and molecular biology of new and known viruses. Development of reverse genetic systems and analyses of important check-points in a virus life cycle and identification and molecular characterization of new viruses infecting crops, including their population structure and epidemiology will be discussed. Information gathered could be used in management practices to prevent the spread of these viruses.

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