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A phytoplasma newly identified as the causal agent of a lethal coconut disease in Côte d’Ivoire

The COGENT secretariat was recently informed that a phytoplasma has been formally identified as the causal agent of the disease destroying many coconut palms is the region of Grand Lahou in Côte d’Ivoire. This information was released by Dr Jean Louis Konan, Head of the Coconut Programme of the National Agronomic Research Centre of Côte d’Ivoire.

Dr Konan told the secretariat that two independent laboratories, located in Mexico and Canada, conducted analysis on biological samples and gave separately the same convergent result. « The disease seems quite similar to the lethal yellowing disease occurring in Ghana, but we will need to achieve the complete sequencing of the phytoplasma genome to be fully conclusive on this point ».

The disease has now been recorded at a location less than 150 km from the International coconut genebank for Africa and Indian Ocean. This genebank, located at the Marc Delorme Research Centre near Abidjan, has been the main provider of coconut germplasm at international level during the last 20 years.

A new phytoplasma disease has also been identified in Papua New Guinea, seriously threatening another International genebank. These new threats will significantly influence the global strategy for conservation and use of coconut genetic resources, currently being compiled by the COGENT secretariat and to be published by the end of 2013.

 

(in French only)

 

 

The Coconut Genetic Resources Network (COGENT) aims to promote national, regional and global collaboration among coconut-producing countries and
partner institutions in the conservation and use of coconut genetic resources for enhanced livelihoods.

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