Begomoviruses are non-enveloped, single-stranded DNA viruses infecting dicotyledonous plants. These viruses have a very wide host range. They are responsible for considerable amount of economic losses to many cash crops e.g. cotton, tomatoes, beans etc. Many species have a bipartite genome (DNA-A and DNA-B, packaged into separate particles. Both DNA segments are generally required for successful symptomatic infection although in some cases DNA-A can cause normal infection on its own. The monopartite type Begomoviruses also require some satellite DNA molecules, which are about half of the size of DNA-A genome.
Many Plant diseases caused by Begomoviruses are widespread in Pakistan. Cotton leaf curl disease (CLCuD), caused by a complex of species and associated non-viral satellite molecules, is a particularly serious problem across Pakistan.
CLCuD first emerged during 1985 and is endemic to cotton growing regions of Pakistan, and in the Indian Punjab.
In Pakistan, approx. 10% or more of the cotton crop is lost due to infection by Cotton leaf curl Burewala virus (CLCuBuV). Previously, the disease was under control using virus resistant varieties. Losses due to the epidemic during 1992-1997 were estimated at US $5 billion alone with 30 % overall losses.
As there is no diagnostic test available to detect Begomovirus infection in Pakistan. It becomes very difficult when processing large number of samples. There is a need to develop Begomoviral specific antibodies for the said purpose. The antibodies developed will help to strengthen the indigenous resources and help in rapid diagnosis of Begomoviruses. The preference in selection of participants will be given to students from KPK, Baluchistan, Sindh and Southern Punjab.
To train the students and young researchers who are interested to
excel in the field of plan tvirology, especially Begomoviruses,
infecting cash crops. The workshop will also serve as a platform for
young researchers to interact with senior scientists/experts in the
area. The workshop will provide an opportunity to the students, from
remote areas, for hand-on laboratory experience.
This workshop is funded by ICARDA-USDA through US Cotton Productivity Enhancement Program (C-PEP).
Dr. Muhammad Tahir (PI ICARDA-USDA Project)
HoD Plant Biotechnology,
Phone No. 051-9085-6131