Genomic Approaches to Discovery of Viral Species Diversity of Non-cultivated Plants
Ulrich Melcher and Veenita Grover
from: Recent Advances in Plant Virology (Edited by: Carole Caranta, Miguel A. Aranda, Mark Tepfer and J.J. Lopez-Moya). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2011)
Outbreaks of newly emerging and re-emerging animal and plant viruses pose a constant threat to public health and food security and emphasize the need to develop efficient methods for viral detection and identification. Ongoing studies for discovery of viral species in non-cultivated plants utilize genomic approaches for systematic unbiased searches for viruses related to known viruses. Genomic approaches use various combinations of methods for sampling the environment, enriching samples for content of viral genomes, amplifying nucleic acids, and detecting virus-related sequences among the amplified nucleic acids. These methods include particularly array hybridization to macroarrays and microarrays, and various megasequencing approaches. In all cases, relatives of known viruses are discovered. However, the identification of a novel plant virus completely unrelated to known ones remains a challenge. Despite a growing list of viruses infecting wild plants, virus infections in wild plant communities are often underestimated relative to cultivated systems, since viruses in wild plants are generally considered not to harm the host. Viruses may not be explicitly damaging wild plants, but their biodiversity and abundance suggest an important role of these viruses in ecosystems. These roles should not be under-rated just because they are under-researched read more ...