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Population structure of Tomato chlorotic spot virus, an emerging tospovirus of tomato and other vegetable plants in the United States

Bindu Poudel: University of Florida

<div><em>Tomato chlorotic spot virus</em> (TCSV) is an emerging tospovirus and has established in south Florida. TCSV was first detected in tomato and bell pepper in south Florida in 2012. It has caused significant losses to tomato and bell pepper growers in the region since 2014. Subsequently, TCSV was confirmed in tomato in Ohio in 2013 and New York in 2017. In Homestead, FL, TCSV has been detected in common bean and some weed hosts in vegetable fields in 2017. Under field conditions, TCSV is efficiently transmitted by flower thrips. Virus infection results in severe stunting and eventually death of the plants when plants are infected at an early stage. Whereas, the pants infected by the virus at later stage develop leaf distortion, chlorotic spots, and fruits also develop chlorotic spots making them unsuitable for marketing. Survey of tomato fields conducted in Miami-Dade County, Florida from 2016 to 2017 indicated that TCSV is the most dominant tospovirus in south Florida. Initial and preliminary analysis of sequence data suggested sequence diversity between tomato and pepper isolates of TCSV. So as to understand the population structure and evolutionary aspect of TCSV, more than thirty isolates of TCSV different fields of tomato in Homestead, FL were collected and utilized for genetic diversity. Approximately 30% of the virus genome was sequenced, analyzed for studying genetic diversity, and protein coding areas were examined for positive/negative selection. Further bioinformatics analysis is being performed to determine if there is any recombination occurring in TCSV population.</div>