We discovered 7 new viruses
Seven new virus species were discovered last year by scientists of the Institute of Plant Molecular Biology at Biological centre CAS. The viruses attack strawberry, cherries, black-current and red clover, and the results suggest that they will not be the last discovered ones for the long time.
Recent methods of molecular biology allow us for a previously hardly feasible things. For example, the Next-generation sequencing can "read" almost all genetic information from the investigated sample. Thus, it may be relative easy to find out that sample contains a novel viral species. However, uncover the complete genome of such a virus is laborious work, and sticking the last pieces of the puzzle of viral genome, as well as testing of the virus by other techniques of molecular biology can be a job for weeks - in the most optimistic case.
In 2018, seven such viral puzzles were completed by scientists at the Institute of Plant Molecular Biology: four new viral species from red clover, and three another from cherries, strawberries and black currant, respectively (the last one was discovered in collaboration with colleagues from the USA, Swithzerland, Slovenia, and Belgium). The viruses discovered belonged to different viral genus, and some of them were presented in even several different versions. For example, there were five version of the same viral species from black current. Furthermore, two of the viruses were found to have originated by recombination with another virus.
Although none of the discovered viruses are likely to cause any serious disease of the infected plants, it is still wise to investigate them. Their presence in plants has shown not only that the viral world is far more diverse than we thought previously, and that the species we know so far consist far less than the famous "tip of an iceberg". The discovery of several different viral variants and viral recombinations allows us to uncover how the viruses are actually evolving and how the new ones originate. That can help us in the future to better protect not only crop but also other organisms including humans.