Barley yellow dwarf viruses

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Healthy and Barley yellow dwarf virus infected wheat leaves
Author: Keith Weller
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Barley yellow dwarf viruses (BYDVs)

Yellow dwarf diseases caused by viruses from the family Luteoviridae are widespread and serious constraints in cereals like wheat, barley, oat or maize. These diseases are transmitted by cereal aphids in a circulative and persistent manner. They where originally thought to be caused by a single virus, the "barley yellow dwarf virus". In the 1960s different serotypes of this virus were described, which were named after the main aphid vectors transmitting them. For example, a common type transmitted mainly by the aphids Rhopalosiphum padi and Sitobion avenae was named Barley yellow dwarf virus PAV. Molecular analyses later revealed that these serotypes were actually separate virus species. Many of them belong to the genus Luteovirus, but some of them were assigned to the genus Polerovirus and renamed like the Cereal yellow dwarf viruses and Maize yellow dwarf virus RMV (Krueger et al., 2013). Still others, like the Barley yellow dwarf virus GAV, have not yet been assigned to a genus.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Gerstengelbverzwergungs-Virus
Gelbverzwergung der Gerste
• English: barley yellow dwarf virus
rice galliume virus
• Español: raquitisimo amarillo de la cebada
• Français: jaunisse nanisante de l'orge

The symptoms caused by BYDVs include stunting and chlorosis which starts at the edges and tips, then spreading over the whole leaf. The leaves become bright yellow (barley) or orange (oat). Seed production is reduced, resulting in major yield losses, especially in oats. E.g. in North America, wheat losses by these viruses in combination with the aphid vectors have been estimated at up to 30-40%.

The aphids transmit the viruses in autumn to winter cereals, and again in spring from winter cereals to summer cereals as well as to maize. The diseases have an incubation period of 2-4 weeks, they can be managed by using resistant cultivars. Virus particles are hexagonal, 25-28 nm in diameter, with a single-stranded RNA. They are found in the phloem cells of the host plant.

The following species are currently included in the group of Barley yellow dwarf viruses: