This article is one in a series outlining the 20 research projects which are funded by CONNECTED in its pump-prime funding programme. To read all the available articles, use this link

Which insects transmit cassava viruses?

A project aimed at better understanding which insect vectors transmit viruses associated with Cassava Brown Streak Disease

Whiteflies are known to play a role in the spread of Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD), which is caused by at least two viral species: Cassava brown streak virus (CBSV) and Ugandan cassava brown streak virus (UCBSV), collectively known as U/CBSVs.

Recent research has raised the possibility that CBSVs may also be transmitted by aphids. So this project aims to investigate further:

  • performing experiments to test whether CBSV can be transmitted between plants by various aphids and whitefly species
  • mutating the DAG motif within the CBSV coat protein sequence to test whether it is involved with insect transmission
  • visiting Ugandan cassava fields infected with CBSD to sample aphid populations and running detection tests to identify whether they contain U/CBSVs.

These experiments will provide insights into which insect vector transmits CBSVs, providing information to help manage and survey CBSD, which may need to include aphids as well as whiteflies. It will also shed light on currently unknown CBSV genome sequences involved with insect transmission.


  • Uganda
  • UK

International research collaboration

  • National Crops Resources Research institute, Uganda
  • Natural Resources Institute, UK
  • University of Bristol, UK


  • Andy Bailey (Principal investigator)
  • Sophie Bouvaine
  • Titus Alicai
  • Sarah Nanyiti

Network members can find further details about those involved in the project by logging in to this site as a member, and using the Member Directory

To become a network member free of charge, use this link.