The whitefly Bemisia tabaci is the only vector of the tomato yellow leaf curl geminivirus (TYLCV). The insect transmits the virus in a persistent- circulative manner. TYLCV DNA was detected by polymerase chain reaction and by Southern blot hybridization in progeny (eggs, first and second instars, adults) of single viruliferous whiteflies that developed on eggplant or on cotton (two TYLCV nonhost plants). Furthermore, TYLCV DNA was present in the progeny of insects that had acquired the virus through the egg. The adult progeny of the viruliferous insects and their own progeny were able to infect tomato test plants, producing typical disease symptoms. Ovaries and maturing eggs of viruliferous insects contained viral DNA, as did eggs laid by viruliferous insects maintained on an artificial diet. Eggs laid by nonviruliferous whiteflies on cotton plants previously caged with viruliferous insects did not acquire viral DNA from the plant. Hence, TYLCV can be transmitted through the egg for at least two generations. In the absence of an available plant host, the whitefly may serve as a reservoir of the virus between growing seasons.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by Grant 95-168 from The US-Israel Binational Science Foundation. M.Z. was recipient of The Golda Meir Fellowship Fund.