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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Effective Disease Management Through Enhancement of Resistant Sugarcane

Location: Sugarcane Research Unit

Title: A report on the transmissibility of Sugarcane mosaic virus and Sugarcane yellow leaf virus through seed in sugarcane

item Keizerweerd, Amber
item Maroon-Lango, Clarissa -
item Grisham, Michael

Submitted to: American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 10, 2014
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: In the United States, exotic germplasm of sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) is mainly received as vegetative cuttings because the extensive actions required to meet existing APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) permit conditions make the importation of sugarcane seed impractical. While taking precautions against foreign pathogens is reasonable, disallowing seed exchange limits us from acquiring new germplasm that could potentially enhance the sugarcane industry. In order to ascertain the risk of introducing foreign pathogens, we investigated seed transmissibility of Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV) and Sugarcane yellow leaf virus (SCYLV) in sugarcane. Seeds were acquired from four crosses with a SCMV-infected female cultivar grown in Guatemala. Upon receipt, the seeds were surface disinfested with commercial bleach, sown in pathogen-free potting mix and germinated. The resulting seedlings were grown under quarantine at the APHIS laboratory in Beltsville, MD, for a period of three months prior to RNA extraction. Seedlings were then screened for SCMV and SCYLV via conventional RT-PCR using three unique primer sets for each virus. These primer pairs varied in their range of specificity to ensure that a more inclusive group of virus isolates could be detected if present. Repeated testing showed all seedlings to be negative for both viruses. These data are consistent with previous research by our group, which revealed no seed transmission of viral sugarcane pathogens. With continued verification through studies such as this one, we remain optimistic that current permit requirements can be revised.

Last Modified: 3/30/2015
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