Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Potential new virus in switchgrass discovered

Date:
November 6, 2010
Source:
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Summary:
Researchers have confirmed the first report of a potential new virus belonging to the genus Marafivirus in switchgrass, a biomass crop being evaluated for commercial cellulosic ethanol production.

Mosaic symptoms on leaves of switchgrass associated with the marafivirus.
Credit: Bright Agindotan, University of Illinois

University of Illinois researchers have confirmed the first report of a potential new virus belonging to the genus Marafivirus in switchgrass, a biomass crop being evaluated for commercial cellulosic ethanol production.

Related Articles


The virus is associated with mosaic and yellow streak symptoms on switchgrass leaves. This virus has the potential of reducing photosynthesis and decreasing biomass yield. Members of this genus have been known to cause severe yield losses in other crops. For example, Maize rayado fino virus (MRFV), a type member of the genus, has been reported to cause yield reductions in corn grown in Mexico, Central America and South America.

"Viral diseases are potentially significant threats to bioenergy crops such as Miscanthus x giganteus, energycane and switchgrass," said Bright Agindotan, research associate working in Carl Bradley's laboratory as part of the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) located in the Institute for Genomic Biology at the U of I. "Our team at EBI has been charged with identifying potential pests and pathogens of these bioenergy crops."

Until recently, little has been known about viruses in these bioenergy crops. Agindotan said most plants can be infected with multiple viruses, making it a challenge to know which viruses to start screening for, especially when only a few viruses have been reported to affect these crops.

Agindotan developed a method that allows for the identification of a virus without prior knowledge of it. He successfully used sequence-independent amplification (SIA) to identify RNA viruses. This is the first time it has been fully described and used for plant virus identification.

The method involves virus partial purification for a small amount of infected leaf tissue, extraction of viral RNA, random amplification, cloning, sequencing, and searching databases to identify the virus.

"Sequence-independent amplification has a distinct advantage over other virus characterization techniques in that it does not require specific reagents to target viruses," he said. "This test will help us specifically identify uncharacterized viruses. In other words, you don't have to know which virus you are looking for, exactly, to able to be able to identify the virus causing the problem."

The identified virus in switchgrass is different, but related to the MRFV that has been reported to infect corn elsewhere, but has never been reported in Illinois.

The Marafivirus was identified in switchgrass from a U of I research field near campus, where 20 to 30 percent of the plot was infected with this virus.

"We are still working on identifying the insects that are responsible for transmitting it," he said. "We know that its MRFV relative is transmitted by leafhoppers in corn, but we are still trying to confirm the exact species that transmit this virus in switchgrass."

At this time, researchers cannot confirm if this virus affects other crops.

"We don't yet know if the Marafivirus in switchgrass evolved from the one that infects maize or vice versa," he said.

Developing biomass crops that do not harbor pathogens that can spread to nearby cultivated food crops such as cereals is a high priority for plant breeders. This discovery will help plant breeders develop resistant varieties, Agindotan said.

The group will report the full genome sequence of the switchgrass virus soon.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bright O. Agindotan, Monday O. Ahonsi, Leslie L. Domier, Michael E. Gray, Carl A. Bradley. Application of sequence-independent amplification (SIA) for the identification of RNA viruses in bioenergy crops. Journal of Virological Methods, 2010; 169 (1): 119 DOI: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2010.07.008

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. "Potential new virus in switchgrass discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101103171654.htm>.
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. (2010, November 6). Potential new virus in switchgrass discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101103171654.htm
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. "Potential new virus in switchgrass discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101103171654.htm (accessed April 18, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Un-Bee-Lievable: Bees on the Loose After Washington Truck Crash

Un-Bee-Lievable: Bees on the Loose After Washington Truck Crash

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 17, 2015) A truck carrying honey bees overturns near Lynnwood, Washington, spreading boxes of live bees across the highway. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dog Flu Spreading in Midwestern States

Dog Flu Spreading in Midwestern States

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Dog flu is spreading in several Midwestern states. Dog daycare centers and veterinary offices are taking precautions. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Rare Whale Spotted in Gulf of Mexico

Raw: Rare Whale Spotted in Gulf of Mexico

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers from the E/V Nautilus had quite a surprise Tuesday, when a curious sperm whale swam around their remotely operated vehicle in the Gulf of Mexico. Cameras captured the encounter. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins