Brazilian begomovirus populations are highly recombinant, rapidly evolving, and segregated based on geographical location
The incidence of begomovirus infections in crop plants sharply increased in Brazil during the 1990s following the introduction of the invasive B biotype of the whitefly vector, Bemisia tabaci. It is believed that this biotype transmitted begomoviruses from noncultivated plants to crop species with greater efficiency than indigenous B. tabaci biotypes. Either through rapid host adaptation or selection pressure in genetically diverse populations of noncultivated hosts, over the past 20 years various previously unknown begomovirus species have became progressively more prevalent in cultivated species such as tomato. Here we assess the genetic structure of begomovirus populations infecting tomatoes and noncultivated hosts in southeastern Brazil. Between 2005 and 2010, we sampled and sequenced 126 DNA-A and 58 DNA-B full-length begomovirus components. We detected nine begomovirus species in tomatoes and eight in the noncultivated host samples, with four species common to both tomatoes and noncultivated hosts. Like many begomoviruses, most species are obvious interspecies recombinants. Furthermore, species identified in tomato have probable parental viruses from noncultivated hosts. While the population structures of five well-sampled viral species all displayed geographical subdivision, a noncultivated host-infecting virus was more genetically variable than the four predominantly tomato-infecting viruses.