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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Wooster, Ohio » Corn, Soybean and Wheat Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #354494

Research Project: Control of Virus Diseases in Corn and Soybean

Location: Corn, Soybean and Wheat Quality Research

Title: Maize lethal necrosis: An emerging, synergistic viral disease

item REDINBAUGH, MARGARET - The Ohio State University
item Stewart, Lucy

Submitted to: Annual Review of Virology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/5/2018
Publication Date: 7/30/2018
Citation: Redinbaugh, M.G., Stewart, L.R. 2018. Maize lethal necrosis: An emerging, synergistic viral disease. Annual Review of Virology. 5:301-322.

Interpretive Summary: Maize lethal necrosis (MLN) is a corn disease that has emerged since 2010 as a major problem in East Africa, Asia, and has expanded in distribution and impact worldwide. MLN is caused by co-infection of two viruses, and was first described in the United States in 1978. Only recently has it caused devastation to the level of its current impact of up to 100% yield loss in emergent hotspots, including locations where corn is a staple crop (East Africa, South America). Rapid spread of MLN is due to the emergence of one of the two viruses in the synergistic pair, and the apparent concurrent abundance of a vector (corn thrips). Despite its global impact, the effective countermeasures and basic biological understanding of the disease complex are still lacking. Here, current understanding of the molecular biology, transmission, and management options for MLN are reviewed, providing up to date information for scientists and growers, and identifying areas where further research is needed to manage and contain MLN.

Technical Abstract: Maize lethal necrosis (MLN) is a disease of maize caused by co-infection of maize with maize chlorotic mottle virus (MCMV) and another virus from the Potyviridae. As the name implies, infected plants frequently die and yields from affected fields are severely reduced or negligible. Over the past eight years, MLN has emerged in sub-Saharan East Africa, Southeast Asia and South America, with large impacts on smallholder farmers. Factors associated with MLN emergence include multiple maize crops per year, the presence of maize thrips (Frankliniella williamsi) and highly susceptible maize crops. Soil and seed transmission of MCMV may also play significant roles in development and perpetuation of MLN epidemics. Containment and control of MLN will likely require a multi-pronged approach, and more research is needed to identify and develop the best measures.