Transmission of two viruses that cause Barley Yellow Dwarf is controlled by different loci in the aphid, Schizaphis graminum

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Clonal populations of the aphid, Schizaphis graminum, have been separated into biotypes based on host preference and their ability to overcome resistance genes in wheat. Recently, several biotypes were found to differ in their ability to transmit one or more of the viruses that cause barley yellow dwarf disease in grain crops, and vector competence was linked to host preference. The genetics of host preference has been studied in S. graminum, but how this may relate to the transmission of plant viruses is unknown. Sexual morphs of a vector and nonvector S. graminum genotype were induced from parthenogenetic females and reciprocal crosses made. Eighty-nine hybrids were generated and maintained by parthenogenesis. Each hybrid was evaluated for its ability to transmit Barley yellow dwarf virus-PAV and Cereal yellow dwarf virus-RPV, and for its ability to colonize two wheat genotypes each expressing a different gene that confers resistance to S. graminum. The F1 genotypes were genetically variable for their ability to transmit virus and to colonize the aphid resistant wheat, but these traits were not genetically correlated. Individual F1 genotypes ranged in transmission efficiency from 0-100% for both viruses, although the overall mean transmission efficiency was similar to the transmission competent parent, indicating directional dominance. The direction of the cross did not significantly affect the vector competency for either virus, suggesting that maternally inherited cytoplasmic factors, or bacterial endosymbionts, did not contribute significantly to the inheritance of vector competency in S. graminum. Importantly, there was no genetic correlation between the ability to transmit Barley yellow dwarf virus and Cereal yellow dwarf virus-RPV in the F1 genotypes. These results taken together indicate that multiple loci are involved in the circulative transmission, and that the successful transmission of these closely related viruses is regulated by different sets of aphid genes.

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Journal of Insect Science

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