Plant diseases caused by viruses undergo changes due to the introduction of new viruses or shifts in existing virus populations, driven by climatic factors and agronomic interventions. The description of viruses and the composition of virus populations in the agricultural environment is key to risk assessment and management.
The viruses are maintained in our collection of characterized “authenticated” plant virus isolates and made available to serve as references for comparative analyses, diagnostic tests and infection studies.
Research project Viruses of Cassava
The critical roles of virus genes for disease development, virus transmission and spread are investigated in molecular and cellular biology studies to attribute genome and biological features of viruses to particular functions, virus replication, virus movement, pathogenicity and tissue tropism in the host plant.
Research project Cassava Brown Streak Virus
More than 80% of all plant viruses are transmitted by insect vectors, aphids, whiteflies, plant hoppers spreading the most important virus diseases of world crops.
We are interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of virus/vector interaction regulating acquisition, translocation and transmission by insect vectors. Virus transmission by the whitefly vector Bemisia tabaci is our key interest as this insect efficiently transmits and spreads viruses from different genera and is implicated in serious plant diseases of crops around the world and the cause of virus outbreaks that are difficult to control.
Natural virus resistance in plants is the most durable strategy against virus diseases but often the basis of genetic resistance in domesticated crops is narrow. Identification of virus resistance in plant germplasm is a major effort and requires a strong collaboration with breeders and laboratories of international agricultural research institutes.
Research project Natural resistance in cassava against cassava brown streak viruses