Departmento de Biotecnología, E.T.S.I. Agrónomos, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
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Accepted for publication 25 May 2004.
Understanding epidemiology and evolution of plant viruses requires knowledge of their ecology: obtaining information about the dynamics and genetic structure of viral populations in their various hosts is necessary to analyze host specialization and to identify reservoirs and inoculum sources. We present here a 3-year analysis of the population dynamics of Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) in Central Spain in weed hosts and melon. CMV infection in weed hosts was detected throughout the year and showed a clear seasonality, with maximum incidence of 20 to 30% in summer and autumn. The dynamics of CMV incidence were different in various weed habitats (i.e., fallow fields, edges, and wastelands), which differed in stability due to the degree of human intervention. CMV incidence in weed habitats was correlated with the amount of vegetation, estimated both as biomass and as soil cover by plants. CMV population dynamics in melon crops was unrelated to that in weed habitats. Genetic characterization by ribonuclease protection assays and biological characterization on differential hosts showed no significant differences in the frequency of genotypes or biotypes for CMV isolates from weeds or melon. Hence, different population dynamics in various hosts and habitats has not resulted in population differentiation, suggesting that migration between hosts and habitats prevents fragmentation of the population.
© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society