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The underestimated diversity of phytoplasmas in Latin America.

Pérez-López, E., Luna-Rodríguez, M., Olivier, C.Y., and Dumonceaux, T.J. (2015). "The underestimated diversity of phytoplasmas in Latin America.", International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology (IJSEM). doi : 10.1099/ijsem.0.000726  Access to full text


Phytoplasmas ('Candidatus Phytoplasma' spp.) are insect-transmitted, cell wall-less plant pathogenic bacteria that cause economically important crop diseases. Because phytoplasma are difficult or impossible to culture in vitro, they are taxonomically classified according to the convention used for unculturable microorganisms. The first coherent scheme of classification of phytoplasmas, based on the RFLP pattern of the 16S rRNA-encoding gene generated with seventeen restriction endonucleases, has been updated several times until the development of the iPhyclassifier. iPhyclassifier is an interactive online tool capable of determining the 'Candidatus Phytoplasma' species, group, and subgroup, of unknown samples using the 16S F2nR2 sequence. Latin America, an important geographic area in relation to food production, has a high incidence of plant diseases caused by phytoplasmas. However, many phytoplasmas associated with these diseases were not properly classified. An extensive literature review and the use of iPhyclassifier allowed us to identify six tentative new 16SrI subgroups, six 16SrII, one 16SrIII, one 16SrVII, one 16SrIX, one 16SrXII, two 16SrXIII, and two new tentative groups (16SrXXXIII-A and 16SrXXXIV-A) among the Latin American strains that were either previously unclassified or misclassified.

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