MOLECULAR DETECTION AND PHYLOGENY OF VIRUSES ASSOCIATED WITH PEPPER (Capsicum spp.) CULTIVATED IN SOME STATES IN NORTHERN GUINEA AND SUDAN SAVANNAH ZONES OF NIGERIA
Keywords:pepper, Phylogeny, savannah, sequencing, viruses
Surveys were conducted to assess the occurrence of viruses on pepper in 2020 and 2021 dry and wet seasons, respectively. Farms in Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi and Gombe States were visited for sampling and sample collection. Leaf samples from plants showing typical viral symptoms were collected for laboratory analysis. The genomic nucleic acid was isolated from the samples by phenol – chloroform separation and purification. The viral coat protein was amplified in Polymerase chain reaction using specific primers and sequenced. Sequences were aligned and used to search the GenBank database for viruses with high similarity. Sequences with high similarity scores were retrieved and used for phylogenetic analysis. Field occurrence of virus-like symptomatic pepper plants ranged from 10 – 70 %. Sequence analysis and phylogeny revealed that the virus infecting Pepper in locations surveyed was highly homologous (94.52%) to Pepper veinal mottle virus. This represents the first confirmation of Pepper veinal mottle virus on pepper in the study areas using novel molecular techniques. It is recommended that more extensive studies be conducted to cover the other northern states being the major pepper growing region of Nigeria. It should be emphasized that caution be exercised in the movement of planting materials across regions, especially between neighbouring countries because of the known impact of viruses on vegetable production in general, and pepper in particular.
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