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Virus Transmission Phenotype Is Correlated with Host Adaptation Among Genetically Diverse Populations of the Aphid Schizaphis graminum

September 2002 , Volume 92 , Number  9
Pages  970 - 975

Stewart M. Gray , Dawn M. Smith , Lia Barbierri , and John Burd

First author: U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Plant Protection Research Unit, Ithaca, NY; first, second, and third authors: Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; and fourth author: USDA-ARS, Plant Science and Water Conservation Research Laboratory, Stillwater, OK

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Accepted for publication 26 April 2002.

Schizaphis graminum is an important insect pest of several grain crops and an efficient vector of cereal-infecting luteoviruses and poleroviruses. We examined the virus transmission characteristics of several distinct populations and various developmental stages of the aphid. Seven well-characterized S. graminum biotypes maintained at the USDA-ARS laboratory in Stillwater, OK, and two biotypes maintained in New York (one collected in Wisconsin and the other collected in South Carolina) were tested for their ability to transmit five viruses that cause barley yellow dwarf disease (BYD). Four of the Oklahoma biotypes, which do not commonly colonize agronomic crops, and the Wisconsin biotype, were efficient vectors of several viruses. The three other Oklahoma biotypes, which do colonize agronomic crops, and the South Carolina biotype, were poor vectors of all five viruses. Thus, the vector specificity long associated with viruses causing BYD is not limited to the level of aphid species; it clearly extends to populations within a single species. S. graminum nymphs are reported to be more efficient vectors of Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV-SGV) than are adults. This was confirmed only for the Wisconsin biotype, but not for the other eight S. graminum biotypes. Thus, there does not appear to be a generalized developmentally regulated barrier to the transmission of BYDV-SGV in S. graminum. Furthermore, the developmentally regulated vector competency observed in the Wisconsin biotype did not extend to other viruses. BYDV-PAV and Cereal yellow dwarf virus-RPV were transmitted with similar efficiency by all S. graminum biotypes when acquired by nymphs or adults.

The American Phytopathological Society, 2002