About this Research Topic
In recent decades, the issue of emerging and reemerging infectious diseases, especially those related to viruses, has become an increasingly important area of concern in plant health. Such diseases in a plant context are generally insect- or seed-transmitted, and changes associated with global warming, and accidental introduction of vectors or infected materials in new areas facilitated by global trade, may affect their incidence, severity and diffusion. In particular, the current rapid expansion in human activity, combined with climate change, provides conditions permitting the (re)emergence of plant viruses at the interface between managed and natural vegetation, and outbreaks of emerging viruses therein. Both of these factors are involved in the increasing instability within virus-plant pathosystems.
The ‘disease triangle’ concept in plant pathology highlights the interaction of both pathogens and plants with the environment. This model can be used to predict epidemiological outcomes in plant health, both at local and global levels. In particular, for disease to occur, a susceptible plant host, a virulent pathogen, and proper environmental conditions are required. The effect of environmental variables (such as fluctuations in mean temperatures) on pathogens and plants can have favorable outcomes on plant disease progression. Furthermore, climate change and the increase of international trade have given rise to the expansion of vector populations, which carry and spread viruses to new areas. This is the case of begomoviruses transmitted by various cryptic species of the insect pest Bemisia tabaci (whitefly). In recent years, several outbreaks caused by tomato yellow leaf curl New Delhi virus (ToLCNDV), in particular on cucurbits, have been reported in different countries in the Mediterranean basin. ToLCNDV had previously remained confined to Asia for more than 20 years and its recently accidental introduction into the Mediterranean coincided with the invasion of the Q2 mitochondrial variant of the B. tabaci MED genotype in the same geographical area. Furthermore, the Q2 variant of B. tabaci has shown to have higher fitness compared to other genotypes, enhanced by the increase in average temperatures. Therefore, it is of significance to anticipate future epidemics by gathering knowledge through relevant research, together with monitoring the emergence of both viruses and their potential vectors.
This Research Topic welcomes submissions of Original Research, Perspective and Review articles focused on epidemiology, transmission pathways and natural cycles, and virulence and resistance concerning new emerging and reemerging viruses. Methods papers covering development and evaluation of diagnostic assays are also welcomed. Studies aiming at discovery of new viruses (together with physiological insights into virus and/or host life histories) or at establishing the pathogenesis of viruses correlating to global changes are also within the scope of this Research Topic.
Keywords: Emerging viruses, Climate change, Globalization, Invasive plants, Plant viruses, Vector introduction
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