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The Prehistory of Potyviruses: Their Initial Radiation Was during the Dawn of Agriculture

Gibbs, Adrian J., Ohshima, Kzusato, Phillips, Matthew J., & Gibbs, Mark J. (2008) The Prehistory of Potyviruses: Their Initial Radiation Was during the Dawn of Agriculture. PLoS ONE, 3(6), e2523-e2523.

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Abstract

Background: Potyviruses are found world wide, are spread by probing aphids and cause considerable crop damage. Potyvirus is one of the two largest plant virus genera and contains about 15% of all named plant virus species. When and why did the potyviruses become so numerous? Here we answer the first question and discuss the other.

Methods and Findings: We have inferred the phylogenies of the partial coat protein gene sequences of about 50 potyviruses, and studied in detail the phylogenies of some using various methods and evolutionary models. Their phylogenies have been calibrated using historical isolation and outbreak events: the plum pox virus epidemic which swept through Europe in the 20th century, incursions of potyviruses into Australia after agriculture was established by European colonists, the likely transport of cowpea aphid-borne mosaic virus in cowpea seed from Africa to the Americas with the 16th century slave trade and the similar transport of papaya ringspot virus from India to the Americas.

Conclusions/Significance: Our studies indicate that the partial coat protein genes of potyviruses have an evolutionary rate of about 1.1561024 nucleotide substitutions/site/year, and the initial radiation of the potyviruses occurred only about 6,600 years ago, and hence coincided with the dawn of agriculture. We discuss the ways in which agriculture may have triggered the prehistoric emergence of potyviruses and fostered their speciation.

Impact and interest:

58 citations in Scopus
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58 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 50534
Item Type: Journal Article
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002523
ISSN: 1932-6203
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES (070000)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 PLoS
Deposited On: 24 May 2012 14:26
Last Modified: 24 May 2012 14:26

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