Virus Biodiversity and Epidemiology
Molecular diversity and Epidemiology of Potato virus Y (PVY)
PhD studentship (SASA-University of Nottingham-Potato Council Ltd)
The Scottish seed potato industry accounts for 75% of all UK production and is worth an estimated £80 million. Potato virus Y is widely distributed in the potato growing areas worldwide. PVY is transmitted non-persistently by non-colonizing aphid vectors, resulting in rapid acquisition and transmission of the virus. There are three commonly described PVY strains: ordinary or common strain (PVYO), stipple streak strain (PVYC) and the veinal necrosis strain (PVYN). Surveys of PVY populations worldwide have identified a drift in the PVY population towards recombinant PVYN strains, where so-called PVYNTN(N-Tuber Necrosis) recombinant strains are causing tuber ringspot necrosis. The emergence and spread of PVYNTN strains has led to large economic losses and highlighted the need for accurate discrimination between PVY variants and better understanding of their pathogenicity and epidemiology.
The purpose of our Potato Council funded PhD project is to understand the mechanisms that drive PVY molecular diversity and epidemiology. See also the poster, Biodiversity and Epidemiology of Potato Virus Y. The key aims are:
- Characterisation of the population structure of PVY field isolates
- Biological and molecular characterization of major PVY isolates: mapping genetic determinants responsible of vein necrosis and tuber ringspot necrosis
- To gain a better understanding of PVY epidemiology
- To further improve molecular diagnostic methods of viruses
- Advice on the potential risk effect of PVY (and other viruses) on seed potato production
Left to right: Aphid vector of PVY, vein necrosis and tuber ringspot necrosis on potato caused by variants of PVY strain NTN. Electron micrograph of PVY virions (VIDE Plant Virus database, University of Idaho, USA).
Aphids and virus transmission in seed potato crop
Potato Council Ltd, Project R428, Consortium SCRI-SASA-SA-SAC-FERA
The aim of this project is to improve control strategies by understanding interactions between virus source, virus trains, aphid species and aphicide effects.