AN AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE ON TOSPOVIRUSES
C. Karavina, A. Gubba
Tospoviruses, an emerging group of plant viruses, infect food crops and ornamental plants causing billions of dollars in losses worldwide. There are at least 28 Tospovirus species worldwide, most of which are found in tropical and subtropical environments. Despite having a largely tropical climate, Africa has only five reported species namely: Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV), Groundnut ringspot virus (GRSV), Impatiens necrotic spot virus (INSV), Tomato yellow ring virus (TYRV) and Iris yellow spot virus (IYSV). The low tospovirus diversity on the continent is mainly due to lack of surveys. Most Tospovirus species have only been reported in the last twenty-five years, yet no surveys have been done in most African countries. Most African countries lack institutional and infrastructural capacities to carry out virology research. This article reviews the characteristics and control of tospoviruses, with a bias towards those found in Africa.