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Modelling interference between vectors of non-persistently transmitted plant viruses to identify effective control strategies.

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Aphids are the primary vector of plant viruses. Transient aphids, which probe several plants per day, are considered to be the principal vectors of non-persistently transmitted (NPT) viruses. However, resident aphids, which can complete their life cycle on a single host and are affected by agronomic practices, can transmit NPT viruses as well. Moreover, they can interfere both directly and indirectly with transient aphids, eventually shaping plant disease dynamics. By means of an epidemiological model, originally accounting for ecological principles and agronomic practices, we explore the consequences of fertilization and irrigation, pesticide deployment and roguing of infected plants on the spread of viral diseases in crops. Our results indicate that the spread of NPT viruses can be i) both reduced or increased by fertilization and irrigation, depending on whether the interference is direct or indirect; ii) counter-intuitively increased by pesticide application and iii) reduced by roguing infected plants. We show that a better understanding of vectors' interactions would enhance our understanding of disease transmission, supporting the development of disease management strategies.



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PLoS Comput Biol

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Public Library of Science (PLoS)
The PhD grant to M.Z. is funded by the PACA (Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur) region and INRAE Agroècosistèmes department. M.Z. thanks Avignon Université for the Bourse Perdiguier, which supports her temporary stay at the University of Cambridge.