Exploit the new deep sequencing technology on plant virus research

Post-Doutoral fellowships   From 2015 to 2021


Duarte Mendonça


Artur da Câmara Machado

Funding Institution

FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia



Viruses are important plant pathogens responsible for 47% of crop epidemics, an importance that may increase given that they constitute the largest group of novel and emerging crop diseases. In the frame of this program it will be performed a thoughtful research on the virus diversity existing in Azorean traditional crops (e.g., grapevines and sweet potato), as well as on plants of the native flora. For that, the use of metagenomics-based approaches combined with Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) is the ideal choice, as unlike “sequence dependent” detection methods that only target known and specific pathogens, the NGS technologies suffers less bias and provides a unique opportunity to access the whole virome.

Specific aims:

  • Identify new viruses and the diversity of known or poorly know viral species on vegetatively propagated traditional crops.

  • Get for the very first-time knowledge on the virus diversity present in the Azorean native plant communities as a tool to study the role of viruses on natural ecosystems and for risk analysis at the agro-ecological interface;

  • Develop classical PCR-based detection assays for the novel viruses identified, or improved assays for known viruses, that could be used by stakeholders for routine diagnostic, to trace back virus evolution and dissemination, as well as for risk assessment;

  • Address the potential involvement of known or unknown viruses presents in viral complexes on a particular disease;

  • Access in an unbiased fashion, to the effect of virus eradication treatments such as in vitro thermotherapy followed by meristem culture.

By providing tools for plant virus diseases study and monitoring, the project will strengthening the long-term sustainability of agricultural resources and food security, by allowing the prevention and implementation of contention measures to avoid the emerging of plant diseases, and the consequent yield losses that may have great economic and social impact. The same is applied to native pants and for survival of endemic habitats, which are essential for ecosystem services, simultaneously with the high expectations in the ecotourism.

Tags: Plant Virology Virus diagnosis Virus diversity Native plant viruses Metagenomics NGS


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