This is one of a series of articles about the 20 research projects for which CONNECTED provided pump-prime funding. A full set of articles about all 20 projects can be found here.

Characterising viral diversityCharacterising viral diversity in vegetable crops to enable targeted resistance breeding

A project using high-throughput sequencing to assess the presence and diversity of insect-transmitted viruses in tomato and pepper crops

Most smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan African countries lack resources, access and knowledge to use appropriate insecticides to protect their crops. The resistance of host plants is therefore the most important and sustainable strategy to reduce crop loss, and so it is essential to understand the diversity, distribution and incidence of virus species and strains.

This project uses high-throughput sequencing (HTS) to investigate the presence and diversity of insect-transmitted viruses in tomato and pepper crops in Mali, Ghana and Nigeria. A low-cost HTS facility will be established at the World Vegetable Center in Mali to be used for a range of diagnostic/surveillance and virus characterisation applications.

The quick detection, identification and characterisation of vector-borne plant viruses will benefit vegetable breeders, the seed industries, extension agents, and others.


  • Mali
  • Thailand
  • UK

International research collaboration

  • World Vegetable Center, Mali
  • East-West Seed, Thailand
  • Fera Science, UK
  • Newcastle University, UK


  • Wubetu Bihon Legesse (PI)
  • Neil Boonham

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