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SASHA Brief 2016: Improving Sweetpotato Virus Diagnostics

Virus infection, by a number of different types of viruses, is among the most important constraints of sweetpotato production globally and especially in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Among the more than 30 described viruses infecting sweetpotato, Sweet potato chlorotic stunt virus (SPCSV) and SPFMV are considered the most wide-spread and devastating, particularly when occurring in combination to cause the sweet potato virus disease (SPVD), which has been reported throughout SSA. This brief outlines the progress made in 2015-2016 to improve virus diagnostics. For example, a Loop mediated isothermal Amplification (LAMP) protocol for Sweet potato feathery mottle virus (SPFMV) was successfully tested in the field in Kakamega, Kenya utilizing a rapid extraction method and partially lyophilized reagents and enabled virus detection on site within 30 minutes. A fourth iteration of another diagnostic tool, ClonDiag arrays, was successfully tested at the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) and a validation plan set up.