Unravelling the genetic diversity of the three main viruses involved in Sweet Potato Virus Disease (SPVD), and its practical implications

Fred Tairo, Settumba B. Mukasa, Roger A.C. Jones, Alois Kullaya, Patrick R. Rubaihayo, Jari P.T. Valkonen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)


Sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) is a widely grown food crop, in which the most important diseases are caused by viruses. Genetic variability of three widely distributed sweetpotato viruses was analysed using data from 46 isolates of Sweet potato feathery mottle virus (SPFMV), 16 isolates of Sweet potato mild mottle virus (SPMMV) and 25 isolates of Sweet potato chlorotic stunt virus (SPCSV), of which 19, seven and six isolates, respectively, are newly characterized. Division of SPFMV into four genetic groups (strains) according to phylogenetic analysis of coat protein (CP) encoding sequences revealed that strain EA contained the East African isolates of SPFMV but none from elsewhere. In contrast, strain RC contained ten isolates from Australia, Africa, Asia and North America. Strain O contained six heterogeneous isolates from Africa, Asia and South America. The seven strain C isolates from Australia, Africa, Asia, and North and South America formed a group that was genetically distant from the other SPFMV strains. SPMMV isolates showed a high level of variability with no discrete strain groupings. SPCSV isolates from East Africa were phylogenetically distant to SPCSV isolates from elsewhere. Only from East Africa were adequate data available for different isolates of the three viruses to estimate the genetic variability of their local populations. The implications of the current sequence information and the need for more such information from most sweetpotato-growing regions of the world are discussed in relation to virus diagnostics and breeding for virus resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-211
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Plant Pathology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes


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