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Pathogenic viruses of Brassica and lettuce aphids (WG) - HH3120SFV

The aim of this project is to characterise pathogenic viruses for aphid pests of Brassica and lettuce crops and determine the presence, prevalence and association of viruses in aphids collected from field crops. The project will focus on three species of aphids, namely, Nasonovia ribisnigri, Myzus persicae and Brevicoryne brassicae. These aphids have been chosen because they are serious pests of lettuce and Brassica crops and because they are difficult to control with insecticides. Effective alternative methods of aphid control are limited and viruses offer considerable potential. However, relatively little is known about aphid viruses in general and even less about the viruses that infect the pest aphids of horticultural crops.The three aphid species will be screened for three families of aphid viruses using PCR/RT-PCR. The genome sequence of rosy apple aphid virus (RAAV, a picorna-like virus) previously identified in Defra project HH1834STF will be completed to help design more specific primers. Myzus persicae will be used as a model to develop methods/systems for studying the interaction between aphids and their viruses, since an artificial diet is available for M. persicae and a pathogenic densovirus has been reported for this aphid. This will facilitate the development of similar systems to study viruses identified in B. brassicae and N. ribisnigri. The project will deliver information on the occurrence, prevalence and types of viruses associated with Brassica and lettuce aphids and may indicate their potential to reduce aphid populations.The research outlined in this proposal could lead ultimately to a reduction in pesticides through the 1) development of a viral-based biocontrol agent, 2) prediction of natural epizootics or 3) manipulation of conditions to facilitate virus dissemination. The research outlined in this proposal is in line with Defra’s policy objective to provide robust strategies and methods of pest control suitable for integrated crop and farm management and with the Government’s policy of pesticide minimisation. It will contribute to Defra’s scientific objective to provide growers with the tools to enable them to minimise the use of pesticides while maintaining a viable UK horticulture industry. Knowledge transfer will be facilitated through a number of routes including publications (scientific and technical), scientific and industry meetings.
1. Transfer knowledge gained during the project to the horticultural industry and science community 2. Publish the rosy apple aphid virus genome sequence.3. Look for the presence of aphid viruses in Myzus persicae, Brevicoryne brassicae and Nasonovia ribisnigri.4. Rear Myzus persicae, Brevicoryne brassicae and Nasonovia ribisnigri on artificial diet.5. Develop methods for amplifying aphid viruses.6. Confirm the pathogenicity of aphid viruses7. Publish sequence information on novel aphid pathogenic viruses
Project Documents
• Final Report : Pathogenic Viruses of Brassica & Lettuce Aphids   (3382k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2004

To: 2007

Cost: £430,699
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Warwick - HRI
Allocated - WHRI              
Pest Control              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Sustainable Production