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Publications (2)4.88 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Uniplex and multiplex reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) protocols were developed for the detection of cassava brown streak viruses (CBSVs) in single and mixed infections with cassava mosaic begomoviruses (CMBs) in a tropical crop plant, cassava (Manihot esculenta). CMBs contain ssDNA as their genome (genus Begomovirus, family Geminiviridae) while CBSVs are made up of positive sense ssRNA (genus Ipomovirus, family Potyviridae), and they cause the economically important cassava mosaic and cassava brown streak diseases, respectively, in sub-Saharan Africa. Diagnostic methodologies have long been available for CMBs but they are limited for CBSVs especially in mixed infections. In this study, the two CBSVs, Cassava brown streak virus (CBSV) and Cassava brown streak Uganda virus (CBSUV) occurring singly or in mixed infection with CMBs, African cassava mosaic virus and East African cassava mosaic virus were detected in a single RT-PCR using both previously described and newly designed virus-specific primers. These protocols were highly efficient for detecting CBSVs compared to the existing methods and have great potential to minimize sample handling and contamination. As well as improving the diagnosis of cassava viruses, the development of multiplex RT-PCR protocols have revealed the common occurrence of mixed infections by CBSV and CBSUV in cassava fields of Tanzania and Kenya, which was contrary to the common belief until recently that these two viruses have existed separately. These protocols have implications for diagnosis and epidemiological studies on cassava virus diseases in Eastern Africa.
    Journal of virological methods 11/2011; 179(1):176-84. · 2.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The rapid geographical expansion of the cassava mosaic disease (CMD) pandemic, caused by cassava mosaic geminiviruses, has devastated cassava crops in 12 countries of East and Central Africa since the late 1980s. Region-level surveys have revealed a continuing pattern of annual spread westward and southward along a contiguous 'front'. More recently, outbreaks of cassava brown streak disease (CBSD) were reported from Uganda and other parts of East Africa that had been hitherto unaffected by the disease. Recent survey data reveal several significant contrasts between the regional epidemiology of these two pandemics: (i) severe CMD radiates out from an initial centre of origin, whilst CBSD seems to be spreading from independent 'hot-spots'; (ii) the severe CMD pandemic has arisen from recombination and synergy between virus species, whilst the CBSD pandemic seems to be a 'new encounter' situation between host and pathogen; (iii) CMD pandemic spread has been tightly linked with the appearance of super-abundant Bemisia tabaci whitefly vector populations, in contrast to CBSD, where outbreaks have occurred 3-12 years after whitefly population increases; (iv) the CMGs causing CMD are transmitted in a persistent manner, whilst the two cassava brown streak viruses appear to be semi-persistently transmitted; and (v) different patterns of symptom expression mean that phytosanitary measures could be implemented easily for CMD but have limited effectiveness, whereas similar measures are difficult to apply for CBSD but are potentially very effective. An important similarity between the pandemics is that the viruses occurring in pandemic-affected areas are also found elsewhere, indicating that contrary to earlier published conclusions, the viruses per se are unlikely to be the key factors driving the two pandemics. A diagrammatic representation illustrates the temporal relationship between B. tabaci abundance and changing incidences of both CMD and CBSD in the Great Lakes region. This emphasizes the pivotal role played by the vector in both pandemics and the urgent need to identify effective and sustainable strategies for controlling whiteflies on cassava.
    Virus Research 04/2011; 159(2):161-70. · 2.75 Impact Factor