Begomoviruses have circular single-stranded DNA genomes, cause many diseases of dicotyledons in areas with warm climates and are transmitted by whiteflies of the complex. Their genomic and antigenic variation represents geography-related lineages that have little relation to host range. Genomic variation resulting from mutation is amplified by acquisition of extra DNA components, pseudo-recombination and recombination, both intraspecific and interspecific. Recombination, especially interspecific recombination, seems the key mechanism for generating novel virus forms, for enhancing biological fitness of pseudo-recombinants derived from closely related species and for maintaining the flow of genetic material among different geminiviruses occurring in the same geographical region. Recent begomovirus epidemics reflect favorable conjunctions of plant, vector, and viral (e.g. emergence of a novel recombinant virus) factors. Such epidemics typically result in co-infection of plants with different begomoviruses, leading to the appearance of further variants, especially recombinants. In their patterns of variation and evolution, begomoviruses differ greatly from plant viruses with RNA genomes.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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