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Keywords:

  • disease emergence;
  • geographic hot spot;
  • multipartite virus;
  • reassortment

Abstract

Reassortment between different species or strains plays a key role in the evolution of multipartite plant viruses and can have important epidemiological implications. Identifying geographic locations where reassortant lineages are most likely to emerge could be a valuable strategy for informing disease management and surveillance efforts. We developed a predictive framework to identify potential geographic hot spots of reassortment based upon spatially explicit analyses of genome constellation diversity. To demonstrate the utility of this approach, we examined spatial variation in the potential for reassortment among Cardamom bushy dwarf virus (CBDV; Nanoviridae, Babuvirus) isolates in Northeast India. Using sequence data corresponding to six discrete genome components for 163 CBDV isolates, a quantitative measure of genome constellation diversity was obtained for locations across the sampling region. Two key areas were identified where viruses with highly distinct genome constellations cocirculate, and these locations were designated as possible geographic hot spots of reassortment, where novel reassortant lineages could emerge. Our study demonstrates that the potential for reassortment can be spatially dependent in multipartite plant viruses and highlights the use of evolutionary analyses to identify locations which could be actively managed to facilitate the prevention of outbreaks involving novel reassortant strains.