New Mexico and the southwestern US are affected by a unique
population of tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) strains
J. M. French
N. P. Goldberg
J. J. Randall
S. F. Hanson
Received: 17 July 2015 / Accepted: 29 November 2015 / Published online: 31 December 2015
Ó Springer-Verlag Wien 2015
Abstract Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) is an
important pathogen of many ornamental, greenhouse and
agronomic crops worldwide. TSWV also causes sporadic
problems in a number of crops in New Mexico (NM).
Nucleocapsid gene sequences obtained from six different
crop species across the state over four different years were
used to characterize the NM TSWV population. This
analysis shows that NM is affected by a unique TSWV
population that is part of larger independent population
present in the southwestern US. This population likely
arose due to geographic isolation and is related to other
TSWV populations from the US, Spain, and Italy.
Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) is one of the most
economically important plant viruses of many ornamental,
greenhouses and agronomic crops worldwide, regularly
causing annual losses of over $1B [2, 17]. Tomato spotted
wilt virus is the type species of the genus Tospovirus,
family Bunyaviridae. Tospoviruses are transmitted by
thrips and have pleomorphic membrane-coated virions and
tripartite ambisense genomes [8, 10, 15]. The host range of
TSWV includes over 1000 different plant species in 82
botanical families encompassing both monocotyledonous
and dicotyledonous plants . TSWV is transmitted by at
least ten different species of thrips in a persistent prop-
agative manner [15, 23]. Many strains of TSWV from
around the world have been sequenced in full or in part.
The nucleocapsid (N) gene is the most abundant tospovirus
sequence in the GenBank database and is commonly used
for tospovirus identiﬁcation and phylogeny [4, 10, 12, 22].
TSWV-susceptible crops, including pepper and peanut,
are among the main crops produced in New Mexico (NM).
Although TSWV has long been established in NM  and
has been observed infecting some plants in NM every year,
it rarely causes signiﬁcant problems in any of the suscep-
tible crops grown in the state. This is in contrast to other
states where TSWV consistently causes major losses,
especially in pepper, tomato, and peanut crops [6, 7, 12]. In
addition to chronic disease problems characteristic of some
regions, TSWV can also cause unexpected outbreaks, such
as the one in potato reported in North Carolina in 2005 .
Given the presence of the virus and known vector species
of thrips in a region where large amounts of susceptible
crops are grown, the lack of serious TSWV outbreaks in
NM is curious. Understanding this low disease incidence
may help to identify factors that lead to high TSWV inci-
dence in other locations and thus be useful for devising
TSWV control strategies.
TSWV strain diversity has been analyzed in many areas
around the world but has not been examined in NM [4, 12,
22]. TSWV diversity in NM was characterized by per-
forming a multi-year, multi-crop, multi-area survey. For
this survey, three hundred two plants displaying symptoms
characteristic of TSWV infection were collected over a
four-year period beginning in 2006. All plant samples
tested were immunopositive for TSWV using a commer-
cially available TSWV dipstick test (Agdia, Elkhart IN).
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this
article (doi:10.1007/s00705-015-2707-5) contains supplementary
material, which is available to authorized users.
& S. F. Hanson
Extension Plant Sciences Department, New Mexico State
University, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA
Department of Entomology Plant Pathology and Weed
Science, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces,
NM 88003, USA
Arch Virol (2016) 161:993–998