Tissue-imprint hybridization (TIH) assay was validated for large-scale detection of Peach latent mosaic viroid (PLMVd) and Hop stunt viroid (HSVd). All 72 collected leaves (100%) from 2 PLMVd- and 2 HSVd-infected trees were positive in TIH, regardless of the geographic orientation of the scaffold, level of the canopy and position of the leaf in the shoot. In a large-scale survey in Serbia, we tested by TIH 871 trees of stone fruits, representing 602 cultivars from fruit collections in Belgrade, Čačak and Novi Sad. PLMVd was detected in 185 (50%) peach trees or 95 (54%) cultivars and HSVd in 2 apricot trees and cultivars (2%). The occurrence of HSVd is a new report for Serbia. No viroid infection was found in European plums, sweet cherries, sour cherries and wild Prunus spp. PLMVd-infected peach cultivars originated from the world’s main breeding centres of this crop. Western European and Asian cultivars were the most infected (58%) followed by those originating from North America (50%). Nine PLMVd and two HSVd isolates were sequenced and analyzed. All showed PMLVd sequences clustered together in the previously reported phylogenetic group III. Both HSVd isolates were found to be derived from recombinant events, but that of the cv. Saturn represented a putative new phylogenetic group of HSVd.
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