Papers in the Biological Sciences


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Simmons, H. E., Prendeville, H. R., Dunham, J. P., Ferrari, M. J., Earnest, J. D., Pilson, D., Munkvold, G. P., Holmes, E. C., and Stephenson, A. G. 2015. Transgenic virus resistance in crop-wild Cucurbita pepo does not prevent vertical transmission of Zucchini yellow mosaic virus. Plant Dis. 99:1616-1621.


© 2015 The American Phytopathological Society


Zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV) is an economically important pathogen of cucurbits that is transmitted both horizontally and vertically. Although ZYMV is seed-transmitted in Cucurbita pepo, the potential for seed transmission in virus-resistant transgenic cultivars is not known. We crossed and backcrossed a transgenic squash cultivar with wild C. pepo, and determined whether seed-to-seedling transmission of ZYMV was possible in seeds harvested from transgenic backcrossed C. pepo.We then compared these transmission rates to those of non-transgenic (backcrossed and wild) C. pepo. The overall seed-to-seedling transmission rate in ZYMV was similar to those found in previous studies (1.37%), with no significant difference between transgenic backcrossed (2.48%) and non-transgenic (1.03%) backcrossed and wild squash. Fewer transgenic backcrossed plants had symptom development (7%) in comparisonwith all non-transgenic plants (26%) and may be instrumental in preventing yield reduction due to ZYMV. Our study shows that ZYMVis seed transmitted in transgenic backcrossed squash, whichmay affect the spread of ZYMV via the movement of ZYMV-infected seeds. Deep genome sequencing of the seed-transmitted viral populations revealed that 23% of the variants found in this study were present in other vertically transmitted ZYMV populations, suggesting that these variants may be necessary for seed transmission or are distributed geographically via seeds.

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