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Extensive recombination challenges the utility of Sugarcane mosaic virus phylogeny and strain typing.

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Braidwood, Luke 
Müller, Sebastian Y  ORCID logo


Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV) is distributed worldwide and infects three major crops: sugarcane, maize, and sorghum. The impact of SCMV is increased by its interaction with Maize chlorotic mottle virus which causes the synergistic maize disease maize lethal necrosis. Here, we characterised maize lethal necrosis-infected maize from multiple sites in East Africa, and found that SCMV was present in all thirty samples. This distribution pattern indicates that SCMV is a major partner virus in the East African maize lethal necrosis outbreak. Consistent with previous studies, our SCMV isolates were highly variable with several statistically supported recombination hot- and cold-spots across the SCMV genome. The recombination events generate conflicting phylogenetic signals from different fragments of the SCMV genome, so it is not appropriate to group SCMV genomes by simple similarity.



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European Research Council (340642)
Royal Society (Edward Penley Abraham Research Professorship)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (RG92070/BAULCOMBE/14462, RG81014/Braidwood/11917, DTP PDAG/223 task 23)
EC | EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation H2020 | H2020 Priority Excellent Science | H2020 European Research Council (H2020 Excellent Science - European Research Council) (ERC-2013-AdG 340642 - TRIBE)