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Annu Rev Phytopathol. 2000 Sep;38:293-324. doi: 10.1146/annurev.phyto.38.1.293.

Genetic Diversity and Evolution of Closteroviruses.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Biotechnology Foundation Laboratories at Thomas Jefferson University, 1020 Locust Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107; e-mail:


The family Closteroviridae comprises more than 30 plant viruses with flexuous, filamentous virions and includes representatives with either mono- or bipartite positive-strand ssRNA genomes. Closteroviruses are transmitted semipersistently by insects from three families of Homoptera, in infected plants are associated with phloem tissue, and demonstrate an astonishing genetic diversity that suggests extensive, on-going evolution. Phylogenetic analyses of their replicative genes as well as the conserved HSP70 demonstrate that closteroviruses co-evolved with their insect vectors, resulting in three major lineages, i.e. aphid-, mealybug-, and whitefly-transmitted viruses. Closteroviruses apparently represent an ancient and diverse virus family that may pose threats to agriculture and needs serious attention.

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