Rapid turnover of intra-host genetic diversity in Zucchini yellow mosaic virus

Heather E. Simmons, Edward C. Holmes, Andrew G. Stephenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Genetic diversity in RNA viruses is shaped by a variety of evolutionary processes, including the bottlenecks that may occur at inter-host transmission. However, how these processes structure genetic variation at the scale of individual hosts is only partly understood. We obtained intra-host sequence data for the coat protein (CP) gene of Zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV) from two horizontally transmitted populations - one via aphid, the other without - and with multiple samples from individual plants. We show that although mutations are generated relatively frequently within infected plants, attaining similar levels of genetic diversity to that seen in some animal RNA viruses (mean intra-sample diversity of 0.02%), most mutations are likely to be transient, deleterious, and purged rapidly. We also observed more population structure in the aphid transmitted viral population, including the same mutations in multiple clones, the presence of a sub-lineage, and evidence for the short-term complementation of defective genomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-396
Number of pages8
JournalVirus Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Cancer Research


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