Sugarcane mosaic virus - long history but still a threat to industry.
Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV) infects maize, sorghum, sugarcane and other poaceous species throughout the world. SCMV is an important virus pathogen, especially in European and Chinese maize production, causing serious losses in grain and forage yields in susceptible cultivars. Like other potyviruses, SCMV is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus with a genome size of approximately 10 kb in length. SCMV is naturally transmitted by aphids in a non-persistent manner. Control of the aphid vectors is not effective because of the non-persistent mode of virus transmission. Therefore, cultivation of resistant maize varieties is the preferred way to control SCMV infections. The high incidence of co-infection and the occurrence of new strains or genome variations indicate that SCMV will continue to be a threat to industry. Aspects concerning virus structure and genome organization, geographic distribution, diagnosis and strain characterization, and genetic variation are reviewed. Special emphasis is placed on the control of SCMV disease.