Sweet potato feathery mottle virus (SPFMV) causes 50% yield losses in sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas). However, some cultivars have been observed to become SPFMV free following initial infection, a phenomenon termed reversion. The heritability of reversion from virus infections in sweetpotato remains unclear. This study is aimed at determining heritability of reversion from SPFMV in progeny of crossed reverting and non-reverting sweetpotato cultivars ‘New Kawogo’ and ‘Resisto,’ respectively. Molecular diversity of the parents and progeny was also assessed using simple sequence repeats (markers) derived from coding regions of RNA dependent RNA polymerase 1 and dicer-like 1 gene that may be associated with reversion. Reversion potential varied among the progeny; 11 progeny reverted more effectively than ‘New Kawogo’ by 4 weeks after inoculation. Broad and narrow sense heritability was 76.42 and 42.4%, respectively. There was molecular variation among the 50 progeny, and markers ibDCL2b and ibDCL1a7F differentiated the progeny. These results indicate reversion was a heritable trait determined by multiple genes, and that genetic markers ibDCL2b and ibDCL1a7F may be used to differentiate the progeny. It is recommended that the progeny be tested in agro-ecological trials in virus-prone areas to identify those that deliver high yields and revert from SPFMV infection.
Key words: Sweet potato feathery mottle virus, reversion, simple sequence repeats.
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