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Rodrigo A. Valverde

302 Life Sciences Bldg.
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
Phone: (225) 578-1384
Fax: (225) 578-1415


University of Arkansas, Ph.D., 1984
University of Arkansas, M.S., 1981
University of Costa Rica, B.S. (Ing. Agr.), 1978

Research Interests:

Origin and effects of persistent dsRNA viruses in plants and biological and molecular characterization of acute plant viruses

Research Project:

  • LAB93932. Molecular characterization of dsRNA viruses infecting plants and fungi.
  • LAB00000  Interactions between endornaviruses and their host: parasitism or mutualism?

Areas of research and teaching:

As a plant pathologist with the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, my main job responsibility is the development of a research program addressing diseases caused by viruses in Louisiana crops. Other duties include teaching a graduate course and a laboratory on plant virology, directing graduate student research, and working with extension personnel on the diagnosis of viral diseases.

Based on the type of relationship with the host, plant viruses can be grouped as acute or persistent. Most acute viruses cause disease and have been well studied. Due to the apparent lack of effect on the host phenotype, limited information is available on persistent plant viruses. Persistent plant viruses are dsRNA virus members of the families Endornaviridae, Chrysoviridae, Partitiviridae, and Totiviridae. They have been reported to infect several economically important crops, such as avocado, alfalfa, barley, beets, cherry, common bean, fava bean, melon, pepper, rice, and tomato, among others. My laboratory and collaborators have identified persistent virus-free and persistent virus-infected lines of cultivars of bell pepper, common bean, and jalapeņo pepper. Preliminary comparative experiments using these lines suggest that in some cases, these viruses may have an effect on the phenotype, seed/fruit yield, seed emergence, and the host reaction to some acute plant viruses. It is possible that the persistent viruses are in a symbiotic (mutualistic) relationship with the host and provide an unknown benefit.

Virus identification is important for developing control strategies, and another area of my research program focuses on plant virus identification and characterization and the development of detection tools. Graduate students in my laboratory and collaborators have identified, characterized, and developed detection tools for several newly recognized virus species causing diseases on sweet potato, pepper, tomatoes, citrus, common bean, and ornamental crops.


Publications | Curriculum Vitae

Department of Plant Pathology & Crop Physiology
302 Life Science Building
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803 
(225) 578-1464

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