Advances in plant virus evolution: Translating evolutionary insights into better disease management

R. Acosta-Leal, S. Duffy, Z. Xiong, R. W. Hammond, S. F. Elena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Recent studies in plant virus evolution are revealing that genetic structure and behavior of virus and viroid populations can explain important pathogenic properties of these agents, such as host resistance breakdown, disease severity, and host shifting, among others. Genetic variation is essential for the survival of organisms. The exploration of how these subcellular parasites generate and maintain a certain frequency of mutations at the intra-and inter-host levels is revealing novel molecular virus-plant interactions. They emphasize the role of host environment in the dynamic genetic composition of virus populations. Functional genomics has identified host factors that are transcriptionally altered after virus infections. The analyses of these data by means of systems biology approaches are uncovering critical plant genes specifically targeted by viruses during host adaptation. Also, a next-generation resequencing approach of a whole virus genome is opening new avenues to study virus recombination and the relationships between intra-host virus composition and pathogenesis. Altogether, the analyzed data indicate that systematic disruption of some specific parameters of evolving virus populations could lead to more efficient ways of disease prevention, eradication, or tolerable virus-plant coexistence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1136-1148
Number of pages13
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • Bottleneck
  • Epistasis
  • Fitness
  • Metagenomics
  • Mutation rate
  • Recombination
  • Robustness
  • Transcriptome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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