The Rebel Virus That Baffles

An “oddball” virus with a distributed genome—split among 8 segments—promises to turn our knowledge of viruses upside down.
It’s a fundamental behavioral expectation of viruses that “a single virus, carrying a full set of genes, must be in want of a cell,” Ed Yong writes. In defiance, the 8 segments of Faba bean necrotic stunt virus can reproduce themselves—even if they infect different cells, Stéphane Blanc and his colleagues at the University of Montpellier discovered.
FBNSV, which infects legumes, “should never have evolved,” Blanc says—suggesting “that something must be wrong in the conceptual framework of virology.”
The Atlantic

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