Identification of Diverse Mycoviruses through Metatranscriptomics Characterization of the Viromes of Five Major Fungal Plant Pathogens.
Journal of Virology, 2016
Fungal pathogens reduce total yields by an average of 10% annually, therefore new and effective ways of control are always of interest. A group of researchers from the Univeristy of Illinois evaluated the myco-viruses present in 5 common fungal plant pathogens. Myco-Viruses are simply viruses that infect fungi. The researchers were able to extract DNA and RNA from the fungal pathogens (which would have viral residual DNA/RNA fingerprints) and then compared what they found against a database of known viruses. They found DNA that matched a number of known viruses. Some of the viruses were encapsidated, meaning their DNA/RNA was packaged in a protein shell, allowing them to be transmitted outside the fungus. Because of their inherent hardiness, encapsidated myco-viruses have future potential for use as a fungicide. At this time, the researchers were not interested in their effectiveness in controlling fungal pathogens, rather they just wanted to identify the relations between known viruses and the newly found myco-viruses. Understanding lineage is the first step in developing a myco-virus for use in fighting fungal disease.