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Plant Virus Ecology

In this short and highly accessible article, Marilyn Roossinck provides an excellent primer for the non-initiated.

Plant Viruses

The latest in the “Pearls” series from PLOS Pathogens is about plant virus ecology. In this short and highly accessible article, Marilyn Roossinck provides an excellent primer for the non-initiated:

  • Plant Virus Biodiveristy
  • Plant Viruses and Invasive Species
  • Viruses, Plants and Insects
  • Persistent Plant Viruses
  • Mutualistic Viruses of Plants


Plant Virus Ecology. (2013) PLoS Pathog 9(5): e1003304. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003304
Viruses have generally been studied either as disease-causing infectious agents that have a negative impact on the host (most eukaryote-infecting viruses), or as tools for molecular biology (especially bacteria-infecting viruses, or phage). Virus ecology looks at the more complex issues of virus-host-environment interactions. For plant viruses this includes studies of plant virus biodiversity, including viruses sampled directly from plants and from a variety of other environments; how plant viruses impact species invasion; interactions between plants, viruses and insects; the large number of persistent viruses in plants that may have epigenetic effects; and viruses that provide a clear benefit to their plant hosts (mutualists). Plants in a non-agricultural setting interact with many other living entities such as animals, insects, and other plants, as well as their physical environment. Wild plants are almost always colonized by a number of microbes, including fungi, bacteria and viruses. Viruses may impact any of these interactions.


AJ Cann

Alan Cann is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Leicester and formerly Internet Consulting Editor for AoB.

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