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Study of seed-borne virome in cucurbits

Sead Sabanadzovic: Dept of Biochem, Mol Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology, Mississippi State University

<div>Seed transmission represents an efficient way for the virus survival and introduction into a new crop. In this project, we investigated the totality of seed-transmitted viruses (“seed-borne virome”) in cultivated and non-cultivated cucurbits (Family Cucurbitaceae) by applying High Throughput Sequencing (HTS, synonym next generation sequencing) of dsRNAs extracted from plant tissue collected from a pool of young seedlings grown under insect-proof conditions in order to prevent contamination by horizontally transmitted viruses. Majority of tested plants contained visible amounts of high-molecular weight dsRNAs, which were used for library construction and custom-based Illumina sequencing on a MySeq platform (2 x 250 bp paired-end reads). Assembly and analyzes of HTS data showed widespread presence of known and novel “persistent viruses” in tested cucurbits (viruses belonging to the families <em>Partitiviridae</em>, <em>Amalgaviridae</em>, <em>Endornaviridae</em> and <em>Totiviridae)</em>. Additionally, our work revealed presence of several new viruses belonging to families/genera traditionally containing pathogenic viruses. Our study confirmed suitability of HTS as an unbiased and highly-sensitive approach for virus diagnostics and surveillance purposes.</div>