The global distribution of Banana bunchy top virus reveals little evidence for frequent recent, human-mediated long distance dispersal events
Banana bunchy top virus (BBTV; family Nanoviridae, genus Babuvirus) is a multi-component single-stranded DNA virus, which infects banana plants in many regions of the world, often resulting in large-scale crop losses. We analyzed 171 banana leaf samples from fourteen countries and recovered, cloned, and sequenced 855 complete BBTV components including ninety-four full genomes. Importantly, full genomes were determined from eight countries, where previously no full genomes were available (Samoa, Burundi, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the USA [HI]). Accounting for recombination and genome component reassortment, we examined the geographic structuring of global BBTV populations to reveal that BBTV likely originated in Southeast Asia, that the current global hotspots of BBTV diversity are Southeast Asia/Far East and India, and that BBTV populations circulating elsewhere in the world have all potentially originated from infrequent introductions. Most importantly, we find that rather than the current global BBTV distribution being due to increases in human-mediated movements of bananas over the past few decades, it is more consistent with a pattern of infrequent introductions of the virus to different parts of the world over the past 1,000 years.