STAFF REPORT FSD: The begomovirus is a threat to cotton and vegetables, experts at the University of Agriculture said.

The seminar on begomovirus diversity, and phylogenetic and population genetics in plant ecosystems in Pakistan was chaired by VC Iqrar Ahmad Khan.

He said that controlling the disease could add millions of rupees to the economy. He said the virus had first been reported in the cotton crop in 2000 in Burewala. He said it had been a threat since then.

He said the cotton leaf curl virus had played havoc with cotton production in 1992. He said the damage was reduced after four years through biological control. He said the virus had caused a 15 per cent loss in the 2013 harvest.

Dr Judith K Brown said that the virus was transmitted by white fly, and dominating it would reduce losses. She said that the most diversification of begomovirus in Pakistan had been seen in Burewala, Multan and Vehari.

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