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A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay was used to detect the Indian iso­late of banana bunchy top virus at early stages of infection in banana suckers before symptom expression. The viral DNA was detected from a single viruliferous banana aphid (Pentalonia nigronervosa) at 1.0 kb. The six plant species viz., Zingiber officinale, Colocasia esculenta, Cathe­ranthus roseus, Canna indica, Hedychium coronarium and Alphi­nium sp. upon inoculation with BBTV showed negative results in PCR assay. Using PCR assay the BBTV could be detected in meristem tip cultured banana plants before symptom expression. In field condition the meristem tip cultured banana plants expressed BBTV symptom 45 days after planting.

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