Propagative Transmission of Plant and Animal Viruses by Insects: Factors Affecting Vector Specificity and Competence

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Abstract

Until recently, viruses were generally divided on the basis of their host range into bacterial, plant, vertebrate, and invertebrate viruses (82). However, it was clear that strict division of viruses according to host range is not always possible, since some families (e.g., Reoviridae, Rhabdoviridae, and more recently Bunyaviridae and Picornaviridae) included members that infect invertebrates, vertebrates, and/or plants (3, 83, 103). Furthermore, with complete nucleotide sequences available for many viruses, long stretches of amino acid sequence similarity in replicase proteins for certain groups of viruses of both plants and animals suggested that some “superfamilies,” which cross the host range lines, may have descended from a common ancestor (135). Thus, the concept of “unity of virology as a whole” became gradually established (82a), and in many cases the dividing line between “animal” and “plant” viruses is no longer valid.