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Sequence Analysis and Classification of Apparent Recombinant Begomoviruses Infecting Tomato in the Nile and Mediterranean Basins

    Authors and Affiliations
    • C. M. Fauquet
    • S. Sawyer
    • A. M. Idris
    • J. K. Brown

      Published Online:

      Numerous whitefly-transmitted viral diseases of tomato have emerged in countries around the Nile and Mediterranean Basins the last 20 years. These diseases are caused by monopartite geminiviruses (family Gemini viridae) belonging to the genus Begomovirus that probably resulted from numerous recombination events. The molecular biodiversity of these viruses was investigated to better appreciate the role and importance of recombination and to better clarify the phylogenetic relationships and classification of these viruses. The analysis partitioned the tomato-infecting begomoviruses from this region into two major clades, Tomato yellow leaf curl virus and Tomato yellow leaf curl Sardinia virus. Phylogenetic and pairwise analyses together with an evaluation for gene conversion were performed from which taxonomic classification and virus biodiversity conclusions were drawn. Six recombination hotspots and three homogeneous zones within the genome were identified among the tomatoinfecting isolates and species examined here, suggesting that the recombination events identified were not random occurrences.