Tomatoes and cucurbits are among the major vegetables grown in the Mediterranean, ranking 2nd and 3rd after potatoes. Their intensive production, with year round crops and a limited number of cultivars expose them permanently to the emergence and invasions of pathogens including viruses. Geminiviruses are among the most worrying viruses of these crops due to their economic impact, the frequent introduction of new exotic species into the Mediterranean and the continuous emergence of potentially invasive and resistance breaking strains generated by recombination.

Period of Implementation

Oct 1, 2019 - Oct 31, 2024
Total Budget

EUR 250,472.21



Prevention and control of these viruses is the major objective of GeMed project.


The specific objectives, tackled by virologists, entomologists, geneticists, breeders, biologists and computer scientists are to (i) broaden the knowledge of the ecology of new and potentially invasive geminiviruses with the involvement of partners located at the four cardinal points of the Mediterranean, (ii) understand outbreak phenomena of invasive recombinant geminiviruses with field observations and analysis of plant-virus interaction using resistance-breaking viral clones and deep small RNA-ome and transcriptome sequencing and bioinformatics, (iii) diversify integrated pest management solutions against insect vectors with plant derived metabolites and against viruses with RNA vaccination of crop plants.

Problems and Needs Analysis

1- Due to their circulative persistent mode of transmission, geminiviruses can potentially move over over long distances and emerge in new geographical areas. The are also highly prone to homologous recombination which easily produce new variants with potentially new virulence phenotypes. When viruses causing diseases are not all known, their control is hardly optimal. 2- The insect vector of a geminivirus reported on chickpea in Mediterranean countries has not been identified yet. Without knowing the vector, the control strategy of this virus cannot be fully worked out. 3- Bemisia tabaci, the major insect vector of Mediteranean geminiviruses is prone to develop resistance to insecticides. Hence, besides the fact that controlling Bemisia transmitted geminiviruses is deleterious for biodiversity and to consumers health, it is not efficient.

Intervention Strategy(ies)

1- The prevalence map of geminiviruses in Mediterranean countries will be updated with surveys of known and potentially new geminiviruses. 2- The presently unknown vector will be identified with complementary virological and entomological approaches. 3- To reduce the use of insecticide, GeMed will focus on the improvement of IPM strategies, identifiy and select resistant plant genotypes and work out an RNA-based vaccination strategy

Impact Pathway

Stakeholder knowledge and the potential of exploitation and dissemination of the result is embedded in the consortium with full participation of two seed companies and the association with various professional organisations interested in GeMed. Larger dissemination will be done via International plant protection organisations (EPPO, ProMED).


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