Top 10 plant viruses in molecular plant pathology

TMV Many scientists, if not all, feel that their particular plant virus should appear in any list of the most important plant viruses. However, to our knowledge, no such list exists. The aim of this review was to survey all plant virologists with an association with Molecular Plant Pathology and ask them to nominate which plant viruses they would place in a ‘Top 10’ based on scientific/economic importance. The survey generated more than 250 votes from the international community, and allowed the generation of a Top 10 plant virus list including, in rank order:

  • Tobacco mosaic virus
  • Tomato spotted wilt virus
  • Tomato yellow leaf curl virus
  • Cucumber mosaic virus
  • Potato virus Y
  • Cauliflower mosaic virus
  • African cassava mosaic virus
  • Plum pox virus
  • Brome mosaic virus
  • Potato virus X

This review article presents a short review on each virus of the Top 10 list and its importance, with the intent of initiating discussion and debate amongst the plant virology community, as well as laying down a benchmark, as it will be interesting to see in future years how perceptions change and which viruses enter and leave the Top 10.

Top 10 plant viruses in molecular plant pathology. (2011) Mol Plant Pathol. 12(9): 938-954. doi: 10.1111/j.1364-3703.2011.00752.x

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8 Responses to Top 10 plant viruses in molecular plant pathology

  1. ed Rybicki says:

    Interesting list – but wrong, as many of these things often are. TYLCV more important than the various African cassava geminiviruses?? Nonsense! And where is Maize streak virus – the most important viral pathogen of the most important crop plant in Africa? Where too the rice viruses?? The world’s top food crops are rice, maize, wheat, cassava and bananas – so what about Maize rayado fino virus, Rice dwarf…? Banana bunchy top or banana streak? I can bet the majority of the plant virologists polled (I was not, nor was anyone I know from around these parts) were from the developed world, and the northern hemisphere.

    Maybe we need another perspective…hey, another paper??!!

  2. Gary says:

    Hi Ed

    Not a case of ‘wrong’, more a case of many forms of ‘right’.

    in the review we state….’we are very much aware that importance and priorities can vary locally across continents and disciplines.’ But in the review we took a global snapshot.

    The idea was to promote discussion, and I knew you would take up the challenge ;-)


    • ed Rybicki says:

      Hi Gary: I stoutly maintain my “wrong” – largely because, although in fact several of my favourite viruses ARE in the top 10 (TMV, BMV, CMV), most of the viruses are ones affecting vegetable or fruit crops. And vegetables are a secondary food source for most people in the world, whereas rice, maize, wheat, cassava and bananas are primary food sources. Meaning their viruses are more economically important, at least. I think you’ll find that the following deals with the developing country viewpoint fairly well, and although it was published 13 years ago, things have not changed much – given that most of the world’s population still lives there!

      Plant virus disease problems in the developing world.
      Rybicki EP, Pietersen, G
      Adv Virus Res. 1999;53:127-75.

      And much as I like Brome mosaic virus – I did my Hons, MSc and a large chunk of my PhD theses on it – elevating it into the top 10 economically is a REAL stretch, because while it certaionly infects wheat and barley and even maize, it is more a mild nuisance than a problem. Unlike the various BYDVs, for example.

      Now MSV: THERE’S yer problem virus…B-)

  3. Gary says:

    People could vote on either scientific or economic importance. Brome mosaic virus (BMV) is in Top 10 because of scientific importance as it states in the article….NOT economic.

    The mention paper may be 13 yaesr old…so still a classic…oldie but goodie.


  4. Gary says:

    In case anybody wants to read the original it is free to download to all.

    Scholthof, K-BG, Adkins, S, Czosnek,H, Palukaitis, P, Jacquot, E, Hohn, T, Hohn, B, Saunders, K, Candresse, T, Ahlquist, P, Hemenway, C & Foster, GD. ‘Top 10 plant viruses in molecular plant pathology’, Molecular Plant Pathology, 12(9), (pp. 938-954), 2011. ISSN: 1364-3703 10.1111/j.1364-3703.2011.00752.x

  5. Gary says:

    The next in the series is now published.

    The Top 10 fungal pathogens in molecular plant pathology -Molecular Plant Pathology -:

  6. Ed Rybicki says:

    Fungi…yawn…sole purpose in life is to be hosts to viruses. And make wood soft. B-)

  7. Gary says:

    Ed…. “Fungi…yawn…sole purpose in life is to be hosts to viruses. And make wood soft. B-)”

    and I thought our reviews would be controversial, and not the comments ;-)

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