A monogenic recessive resistance to Rice yellow mottle virus (RYMV) found in the Oryza sativa indica cultivar Gigante and in a few Oryza glaberrima cultivars provided a higher level of resistance than either a polygenic partial resistance found in some japonica cultivars which delayed symptom expression or transgenic resistances which were partial and temporary. This high resistance was overcome by several isolates, but the percentage of such virulent isolates in the fields was low. There was no relationship between the virulence of an isolate towards the high resistance and its aggressiveness in other cultivars. Isolates with either of the two components of pathogenicity - virulence and aggressiveness - were found in each strain and in all regions of Africa, in both wild and cultivated grass species. There was no loss of fitness of resistance-breaking (RB) isolates as they were not counter-selected, impaired or outperformed after serial passages in susceptible cultivars, even in mixture with avirulent quasi-isogenic wild type isolates. Resistance breaking was highly dependent on the amount of virus inoculated and on the mode of transmission. Implications of these results for the durability of the resistances to RYMV and for the development of integrated disease management strategies are discussed.