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Abstract Detail


Fetters, Andrea [1], Stephens, Jessica [2], Teresa Saenz Robles, Maria [1], Cantalupo, Paul [1], Pipas, James [1], Ashman, Tia-Lynn [1].

The pollen virome: viral diversity and novel viral discovery across diverse plant families.

Plant viruses represent serious threats to food security and native biodiversity. The globalization of flora and the co-invasion of pathogens and their hosts amplifies the potential for the emergence of novel viruses and host switching. Traditional wisdom maintains that viruses are transferred by herbivorous insects, but some viruses can exploit the plant's own reproductive process for transmission, i.e., they hijack the pollen grains and are transported from one plant to another by pollinators. Yet our knowledge of pollen-associated viral taxa is limited to a handful of known viruses infecting a small set of symptomatic agricultural plants, leaving us entirely blind to the potential viral diversity that exists within asymptomatic hosts, wild native plant species, and hidden amongst the world of undescribed viruses. Here, we broadly characterize known and novel RNA viruses associated with pollen by using our viral detection pipeline based upon the percentage identity of assembled viral contigs to complete NCBI viral reference genomes. Our goals were to 1) describe viral pollen diversity across various plant families; 2) identify novel viruses in wild plant communities; and 3) determine whether pollen viruses are unique from viruses detected in vegetative tissue (i.e. leaves). Results from this research furthers our understanding of pollen as a novel viral niche and lays the foundation for greater consideration of plant-pathogen spread through pollinator-mediated transmission.

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1 - University of Pittsburgh, Department of Biological Sciences, 4249 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15260, USA
2 - University of Pittsburgh


Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P, Ecology
Location: Grand Ballroom - Exhibit Hall/Mayo Civic Center
Date: Monday, July 23rd, 2018
Time: 5:30 PM This poster will be presented at 6:15 pm. The Poster Session runs from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Posters with odd poster numbers are presented at 5:30 pm, and posters with even poster numbers are presented at 6:15 pm.
Number: PEC026
Abstract ID:920
Candidate for Awards:Ecological Section Best Graduate Student Poster

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