Sep 25, 2020
Viral diseases in plants offer
advantageous platforms for virology work, which is why returning
guest Marilyn J. Roossinck pushed her research focus in their
direction. Her knowledge of
virus, plant, and fungus interactions adds depth to Richard's
continued collection of expert views on virus functions and habits
in preparation for his book.
Because plants are inexpensive,
abundant, and easy to fit in a blender, they provide an excellent
subject for virologists. Therefore, plant pathologist Marilyn J.
Roossinck enlightens any attempt to understand virus behaviors.
She's a professor of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology
at the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at the Huck Institute
of Life Sciences at Penn State University.
After introducing her motivation for embracing this field, she helps Richard along his quest for a bigger picture of virus capabilities. Through examples of symptoms of viral diseases in plants and animals, she discusses topics like the percentage of our genome that was converted from retrovirus RNA; these genes insure mammalian survival, making placental development possible.
As she discusses human organisms
as holobionts, listeners can get a much better understanding of the
intricate beings we and all living organisms really are. For
example, some fungal diseases in plants work with viruses for
evolutionary adaptations such as the ability to survive heat. She
mentions a virus discovered at Yellowstone that, if a fungus is
present along with the virus, lends heat tolerance to certain
Similarly, the cholera bacteria in humans is only pathogenic when accompanied by a phage. In the midst of these interesting examples, she discusses her thoughts on virus mechanisms for entry and infection, viruses' ability to communicate or signal across cells, and the existence of "helper" viruses with different roles.