High genetic stability of the begomovirus Tomato yellow leaf curl Sardinia virus in southern Spain over an 8-year period.
The evolution of the plant single-stranded DNA virus Tomato yellow leaf curl Sardinia virus (TYLCSV) (genus Begomovirus, family Geminiviridae) has been monitored for 8 years after its appearance in southern Spain. Variation within three genomic regions of 166 TYLCSV isolates collected from three locations was assessed by single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis. According to SSCP, the intergenic region (IR) was the most variable. Low genetic diversity was found within the population and geographical or temporal differences were not evident. Nucleotide sequences of specific genomic regions of haplotypes identified by SSCP indicated close relationships among them. Therefore, the Spanish TYLCSV population appears to represent a single, undifferentiated population. The analysis of IR sequences for a subsample of 76 randomly chosen isolates confirmed the limited genetic diversity revealed by the SSCP analysis. A tendency to a lineal increase in diversity over time was observed in Málaga and Almería subpopulations; however, no accumulation of mutations in single isolates was evident. Negative selection to variation seems to operate to conserve certain regions of the genome. Thus, the low genetic diversity found in the studied TYLCSV population might be the result of a founder effect with subsequent selection against less fit variants arising by mutation.