Virus-like particles were purified from banana plants with banana bunchy top disease. These particles were isometric with a diameter of 18 to 20 nm and a density of 1·28 to 1·30 g/ml in caesium sulphate. Associated with these particles were an ssDNA of about 1 kb and one major protein of 20100. DsDNA was synthesized from nucleic acid extracts from these particles and cloned. One clone, pBT338, hybridized specifically (i) with sap extracts from plants infected with banana bunchy top virus (BBTV) but not with sap extracts from healthy plants and (ii) with the small ssDNA in nucleic acid extracts from infected plants and virus-like particles. Banana bunchy top disease was transmitted from infected to healthy bananas by aphid inoculation and it was demonstrated that the small ssDNA was transmitted with the disease. It is probable that these particles represent the virions of BBTV containing small ssDNA and that the virus resembles subterranean clover stunt virus more than any other known virus.


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