Observatorio de I+D+i UPM

Memorias de investigación
Research Project:
SUBVENCIÓN DEL PROGRAMA RAMÓN Y CAJAL. AYUDA PARA LA CONTRATACIÓN
Year:2012
Research Areas
  • Evolutionary biology,
  • Viral pathogens of plants,
  • Crop production
Information
Abstract
One of the main consequences of plant domestication is the drastic reduction of the genetic diversity of the crop population. This homogeneity results in a high density of susceptible hosts, which greatly facilitates virus spread. However, the role of host genetic diversity on virus evolution remains poorly understood. It has been proposed that several virus traits are affected by the degree of genetic diversity in the host population. Viruses reduce their virulence in heterogeneous host populations due to trade-offs between virulence levels in different host genotypes. Similar trade-offs reduce the efficiency of virus transmission in heterogeneous host populations. Genetic factors associated with virus evolution may also be affected, and higher fixation rates are favoured by higher host genetic diversity, as viruses need to rapidly adapt to the different environment represented by each host genotype. Also, other mechanism of generating genetic diversity in the virus population, as recombination or reassortment, may have a role on adaptation to the degree of host genetic diversity. However, analyses of these processes are scarce, especially in plant viruses. My research line will be focused on assessing the role of host genetic diversity in plant virus evolution. To do so, I will use pathosystems involving plants of two main crop families: Arabidopsis thaliana-CMV, and chiltepin/pepper-Potyviruses. These plant-virus interactions have been observed in nature, and the susceptibility of host genotypes to the referred viruses has been characterized. I will address the objectives of my research by combining experimental approaches, to analyse the effect of host genetic diversity on the evolution of virulence and transmission levels, and advanced bioinformatic tools, to study the modification of virus genetic traits. The use of complementary bioinformatic methodology represents a novel interdisciplinary approach that will help to answer the questions that cannot be approached through experimental analyses alone. This analysis of the effect of host genetic diversity in virus evolution will contribute to understanding the dynamics of viral epidemics, and the consequences of plant domestication. This is highly relevant from an agronomical perspective, as this knowledge might aid in the design of new control strategies based on genetically heterogeneous populations.
International
No
Project type
Proyectos y convenios en convocatorias públicas competitivas
Company
Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
Entity Nationality
ESPAÑA
Entity size
Pequeña Empresa (11-50)
Granting date
Participants
  • Director: Jesus Israel Pagan Muñoz (UPM)
Research Group, Departaments and Institutes related
  • Creador: Grupo de Investigación: Patología Vegetal
  • Centro o Instituto I+D+i: Centro de Biotecnología y Genómica de Plantas, CBGP
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