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Picorna-like viruses

Tue Jul 6 09:03:51 EST 1993

 Ed Rybicki replied to my correction of his posting musing about picorna-like 
virus evolution:

|Related, yes - closely related, no...in fact, only marginally closer than
|potyvirus sequences.  What I was trying to get at (and missed, by
|overstating the case) was that the plant viruses are VERY distantly
|related to each other, and to anything else - meaning they should perhaps
|be in different sub-families from each other, with mammalian
|picornaviruses in yet another sub-family as these are all more related to
|one another than any is to the plant viruses - in a larger family
|Picornaviridae.  Putting up two genera of a new family strikes me as being
|horribly premature, given the genomic and structural similarities of the
|plant, insect and mammalian picornaviruses and -like viruses, compared to
|(eg) caliciviruses and mammalian picornaviruses.
  (more stuff deleted)

I appreciate the clarification and agree that it is interesting that the plant 
picorna-like viruses as a group are so distant from the animal picornaviruses.  
The question then is:  did the two groups really diverge from one another way 
back in evolutionary time, or are we looking primarily at the changes needed to 
adapt plant viruses to life (?) in animals, or vice versa (adaptation of animal 
viruses to the plant niche)?

Ulrich Melcher
Dept. Biochem & Mol Biol
Oklahoma State Univ.
Stillwater OK USA

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