A replication cycle for viroids and other small infectious RNA's

Author(s): Branch AD, Robertson HD

Abstract

Experimental data concerning viroid-specific nucleic acids accumulating in tomato plants establish, together with earlier studies, the major features of a replication cycle for viroid RNA in plant cells. Many features of this pathway, which involves multimeric strands of both polarities, may be shared by other small infectious RNA's including certain satellite RNA's and "virusoid" RNA's which replicate in conjunction with conventional plant viruses. The presence, in host plans, of an elaborate machinery for replicating these disease agents suggests a role for endogenous small RNA's in cellular development.

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