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Sci Rep. 2013;3:2253. doi: 10.1038/srep02253.

Virus infection of a weed increases vector attraction to and vector fitness on the weed.

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College of Plant Protection, Hunan Agricultural University, Changsha, PR China.


Weeds are important in the ecology of field crops, and when crops are harvested, weeds often become the main hosts for plant viruses and their insect vectors. Few studies, however, have examined the relationships between plant viruses, vectors, and weeds. Here, we investigated how infection of the weed Datura stramonium L. by tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) affects the host preference and performance of the TYLCV vector, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) Q. The results of a choice experiment indicated that B. tabaci Q preferentially settled and oviposited on TYLCV-infected plants rather than on healthy plants. In addition, B. tabaci Q performed better on TYLCV-infected plants than on healthy plants. These results demonstrate that TYLCV is indirectly mutualistic to B. tabaci Q. The mutually beneficial interaction between TYLCV and B. tabaci Q may help explain the concurrent outbreaks of TYLCV and B. tabaci Q in China.

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