In nature, RNA viruses of plants often must adapt to ever-changing environments in the form of frequent host switches. This would favor a highly diverse population for transmission. However, most viruses that have been studied have been viruses of monocultural crops. In crop viruses, the mutation frequency of individual viral quasispecies varies greatly, both in experiment evolution studies and in populations of viruses within single field plants. There is some correlation between host range and mutation frequency in experimental evolution studies, but few viruses have been examined at the individual quasispecies level. Many questions about the nature of plant RNA virus populations and factors that affect the effective population sizes, such as genetic bottlenecks and postive and negative selection, have only begun to be studied. Many more analyses are required before generalized patterns can be determined.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Microbiology (medical)