News FocusPlant Pathology

Geminiviruses Emerge as Serious Crop Threat

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Science  03 Dec 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5446, pp. 1835
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5446.1835

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Geminiviruses, once thought to cause only limited crop damage, are emerging as serious threats to crops worldwide. Not only are they being spread worldwide via global transportation networks, but new geminivirus strains have emerged thanks to the viruses' penchant for swapping genetic material. And control measures, such as insecticides, are falling short. Consequently, plant genetic engineers are struggling to create resistant plants. So far, however, they have had no lasting successes, although they do have some promising leads, such as equipping plants with a protein that prevents movement of geminiviruses within plants, thereby blocking infection.