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Genetic diversity of begomovirus infecting tomato and associated weeds in Southeastern Brazil

Keywords: Geminiviridae , phylogenetic relationships , Tomato chlorotic mottle virus

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The genetic diversity of begomovirus isolates from tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) fields in the Southeastern region of Brazil was analyzed by direct sequencing of PCR fragments amplified by using universal oligonucleotides for the begomovirus DNA-A, and subsequent computer-aided phylogenetic analysis. Samples of tomato plants and associated weeds showing typical symptoms of virus infection were collected at seven locations in the states of Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro. A total of 137 out of 369 samples were infected with a begomovirus based on PCR analysis. Phylogenetic analysis indicated a high degree of genetic diversity among begomoviruses infecting tomatoes in the sampled area. One species (Tomato chlorotic mottle virus, TCMV) occurs predominantly in Minas Gerais, whereas in Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo a distinct species, not yet fully characterized, predominates. Phylogenetic analysis further indicates the presence of an additional four possible new species. This high degree of genetic diversity suggests a recent transfer of indigenous begomovirus from wild hosts into tomatoes. The close phylogenetic relationship verified between begomovirus infecting tomato and associated weeds favors this hypothesis.


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