A biological model for the study of plant-pathogen-vector-symbiont interactions in the tropics:

Plant viruses and virus-like disease agents have been studied because of their direct impact on plant hosts and also because studies will create a better understanding of physiological processes in plants.  Over the last twelve years, a series of basic studies was initiated with tropical mites of the Brevipalpus genus, Tenuipalpidae family. Initially, three virus-like disease agents were reported associated with Brevipalpus mites.  There are now more than 60 host plant species in 24 families.  “A special volume of Experimental Applied Acarology and a recent article (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10493-012-9632-z) were dedicated to this subject”.  The host plants of greatest direct economic interest are citrus, coffee, passion fruit, and ornamental plants such as hibiscus and orchids.  The characterization of these viruses according to the cytopathology, epidemiology, genetic diversity, and the vector complex particularities has been used to train students in different areas, and the sum of these studies we started to call a “tropical mite-pathosystem”.

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