Intermolecular reconstitution of a plant virus has been detected in whole plants in a system using a defective cauliflower mosaic virus genome and transgenic host plants containing the missing viral gene. The information for the gene VI protein of the virus was integrated into the chromosome of host Brassica napus plants and leaves of these plants were inoculated with Agrobacterium tumefaciens containing the complementing viral sequences. In several cases, upper leaves contained replicating viral DNA which was able to incite CaMV symptoms on turnip plants. The sequence of the resultant recombinant viral molecules suggested that both DNA and RNA recombination events may have been involved in the production of functional virus, one event being gene targeting of the T-DNA.
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