New Disease Reports (2006) 13, 44.

First report of a begomovirus infecting two common weeds: Malvastrum americanum and Sida spinosa in Jamaica

A.P. Graham*, C.S. Stewart and M.E. Roye


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Accepted: 12 Jul 2006

Many Jamaican weeds are infected by begomoviruses (family Geminiviridae) (Roye et al, 1997). Two common weeds, Malvastrum americanum and Sida spinosa, often exhibit yellow mosaic symptoms.  Fragments of approximately 1.4 kb were amplified by PCR from 22 samples of M. americanum and 27 samples of S. spinosa with primer pairs PAL1v1978/PAR1c715 and PBL1v2039/PBL1c800 (Rojas et al, 1993).  These primers are designed to amplify portions of the DNA-A (spanning the 5’ends of the coat protein and replication associated protein genes and the intergenic region [IR]) and DNA-B (spanning the 5’ end of the movement protein and nuclear shuttle protein genes and the IR) components of begomoviruses respectively.  The amplification products from selected samples were cloned and sequenced.

The sequences of the DNA-A (DQ422870 and DQ411027) and DNA-B (DQ422871 and DQ411028) clones from both weeds have 92.8% nucleotide sequence identity and thus likely represent strains of the same begomovirus (Fauquet & Stanley, 2003), while the DNA-Bs are 95.6% similar.  BLASTN database searches indicated that the clones are most similar to, but distinct from, other Western Hemisphere begomoviruses.  The DNA-A sequences from M. americanum and S. spinosa were most similar to Wissadula golden mosaic virus – [Jamaica1], WGMV-[JM1] (U69280), with nucleotide sequence identities of 81.4% and 81.9% respectively.  The DNA-B sequences were most similar to Sida golden mosaic virus (AF039841) and Sida golden yellow vein virus (U77964), having sequence identities of 52.0% and 50.0% with respect to the DNA-B from M. americanum and 51.9% and 50.1% for the DNA-B from S. spinosa.

This is the first report of the infection of M. americanum and S. spinosa in Jamaica by a new bipartite begomovirus, provisionally named Malvastrum yellow mosaic Jamaica virus.  While geminiviruses have previously been characterized from Sida spp. in Jamaica, this is the first report of a geminivirus infecting M. americanum in Jamaica.


This work was funded by The Principal’s New Initiative Fund and The School of Graduate Studies and Research at the University of the West Indies, Mona.


  1. Fauquet CM, Stanley J, 2003. Geminivirus classification and nomenclature: progress and problems. Annals of Applied Biology 142, 165-189.
  2. Rojas MR, Gilbertson RL, Russell DR, Maxwell DP, 1993. Use of degenerate primers in the polymerase chain reaction to detect whitefly-transmitted geminiviruses. Plant Disease 77, 340-347.
  3. Roye ME, McLaughlin WA, Nakhla MK, Maxwell DP, 1997. Genetic diversity among geminiviruses associated with the weed species, Sida spp., Macroptilium lathyroides, and Wissadula amplissima from Jamaica. Plant Disease 81, 1251-1258.

This report was formally published in Plant Pathology

©2006 The Authors