Potato Virus Y
Potato virus Y origin, emergence and evolution.
Potato virus Y (PVY) is the type species of the genus Potyvirus, one of the largest groups of plant viruses, containing c. 160 species . Potyviruses are transmitted by aphids and cause economically damaging diseases in crop plants. PVY exists as several strains and has become one of the most economically important pathogens of potato and the most important virus , and it occurs commonly wherever potatoes are grown. The Andean region of South America is the centre of origin of potato and many wild and domesticated species grow there (Figure 1a). After the discovery and colonization of the Americas by Europeans in the 16th century, tubers of one species of domesticated potato, Solanum tuberosum, were taken to Europe, and from there, over time, to the rest of the world . Potato consumption grew in popularity in the 19th century, and it became an established staple food in many countries. Potatoes are vegetatively propagated, with progeny “seed” tubers being used to establish the next crop, and, unknown at the time, potato viruses were also transported with tubers. Potato viruses were first identified in the 1930s , and now more than 50 viruses affecting potato are known, although only a few, including PVY, cause economically important diseases . Potato is the world’s third most important staple food crop and an important crop supporting food security in developing countries, where potato production now exceeds that in the developed world, and viruses are major constraints on potato production systems .