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Dissecting a centennial problem for the peony industry

Cullen Shaffer: University of Arkansas

<div>Peony<em>, Paeonia lactiflora,</em> Pall. is a perennial ornamental grown around the globe. Lemoine described a disease in the early 1900s with symptoms that include root galls, reduced flowering, and stunted growth with the causal agent remaining elusive. Large scale sequencing was employed to determine whether a virus is associated with the symptoms. About 90% of 200 accessions from Alaska, Arkansas, Michigan, New York and Oregon tested positive for <em>Cycas necrotic stunt virus</em> (CNSV), a nepovirus that has not been previously reported in the Western Hemisphere but has a significant host range. All isolates sequenced revealed a recombination event close to the 5’ terminus of RNA 1 with a <em>Grapevine Anatolian ringspot virus­</em>-like virus The prevalence of the recombinant indicates that it occurred early in the evolutionary history of the virus in peony or it was introduced to peony early in its use as an ornamental. The rest of the virus is 85% and 90% identical nucleotide/amino acid respectively to the type isolate of the virus from Japan. The ability of <em>Longidorus</em> and <em>Xiphinema </em>to vector the virus is under investigation as is the host range among ornamentals routinely propagated alongside peony in nursery settings. With the information generated from this project management strategies can be devised to control the virus in the future.</div>