Combating plant viruses

June 12, 2012 at 6:18 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Detection, analysis, resistance screening: the virology lab at Tel Hadya provides vital support to plant breeding programs, both at ICARDA and in partner organizations

The virology laboratory at Tel Hadya performs two vital functions: working with plant breeders to evaluate varieties resistant to a range of virus diseases, and monitoring virus infections in incoming and outgoing seed samples. This season, nearly 350 genotypes of lentil, chickpea and faba bean, and 600 genotypes of wheat and barley from ICARDA’s breeding program were evaluated for resistance to a number of plant viruses. Nearly 20-30% of the bread and durum wheat genotypes were resistant/tolerant to barley yellow dwarf virus, the most common virus in the region. In legumes, a number of genotypes proved resistant to individual viruses; some were resistant to multiple viruses.

In addition, over 4000 seed samples (100 to 200 plants per genotype) of legume crops from the ICARDA genebank and the international nurseries program were tested to eliminate contamination by six seed-borne viruses.

The presence of viruses is detected using highly sensitive tissue blot immune-assays. Serological testing is followed by molecular analysis for sequencing, to identify genes or chromosome segments associated with resistance. ICARDA also provides research support (surveys, analysis, diagnosis reagents) to national programs in different countries.

For more information contact Dr Safaa Kumari, plant virologist, email


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