We have confirmed that two closely related circular RNA molecules previously named grapevine yellow speckle viroid (GYSV) and grapevine viroid 1B (GV1B) are indeed viroids. Electron microscopy after spreading under non-denaturing conditions revealed that GYSV has a rod-like structure typical of viroids. Purified GYSV and GV1B replicated independently in inoculated grapevine seedlings and some of the infected plants developed yellow speckle symptoms indicating that both viroids can cause grapevine yellow speckle disease. Plus-sense RNA transcripts derived from a dimeric GYSV cDNA clone induced yellow speckle symptoms in a grapevine seedling confirming the role of GYSV in the yellow speckle disease. Two oligonucleotide probes were synthesized for the detection of the two related viroids. The probes which could detect each viroid individually were used to assess correlations between the occurrence of these viroids and the incidence of the disease.


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