Observatorio de I+D+i UPM

Memorias de investigación
Plant-virus co-evolution at the interface of agricultural and natural ecosystems.
Áreas de investigación
  • Virus patógenos de plantas,
  • Producción vegetal
Viruses are only second to fungi as plant pathogens, both for the number of diseases they cause and for their economic impact. Also, as is the case for animals, viruses are the major group of emergent crop pathogens. It has been proposed that the high virulence of viruses in crops is the result of ecological changes associated to agriculture. However, this assumption has little experimental or empricial support, as little is known about the virulence of viruses in wild plants and their impact in wild host populations. At odds with fungal pathogens, the evolutionary ecology of plant viruses in wild ecosystems has been underexplored. We are interested in understanding if viruses are a selective pressure in wild plants leading to host-parasite co-evolution, and in if ecological changes in the agroecosystem may modify plant-virus interactions eventually resulting in virus emergence. For this we have worked on two wild hosts. The first is the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis). By monitoring wild Arabidopsis populations for seven years, we were able to estimate the prevalence of different viruses, and the relationship between virus infection and plant demography. We have also characterized resistance and tolerance defence responses to virus infection, and their variation in wild Arabidopsis populations. Results indicate genetic variation for virulence and defence in the viruses and the host, respectively, and a GxG determination of the outcome of the interaction, which is compatible with a hypothesis of plant-virus co-evolution. The distribution of defences over the Spanish Arabidopsis population strongly suggests that infection by the most prevalent viruses results in a selective pressure on the host plant. The second wild system we work with is the wild pepper Capsicum annuum var glabriusculum (chiltepin). Chiltepin grows wild in dry tropical forests of Mexico. Chiltepin fruits are collected and consumed by humans, and chiltepin population may be managed by humans up to the point of cultivation, which has started in the last 15 years. By comparing virus incidence in chiltepin population under different levels of human management, we were able to show that the transition to agriculture resulted in higher prevalence of more virulent virus infections. We were also able to disentangle the ecological factors associated with virus emergence, and to quantify the effect of virus infection on the plant?s demography and population dynamics.
Entidad relacionada
Fundación Ramón Areces
Nacionalidad Entidad
Lugar del congreso
Esta actividad pertenece a memorias de investigación
  • Autor: Fernando Garcia-Arenal Rodriguez (UPM)
Grupos de investigación, Departamentos, Centros e Institutos de I+D+i relacionados
  • Creador: Grupo de Investigación: Patología Vegetal
  • Centro o Instituto I+D+i: Centro de Biotecnología y Genómica de Plantas, CBGP
  • Departamento: Biotecnología
S2i 2022 Observatorio de investigación @ UPM con la colaboración del Consejo Social UPM
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