Isolates of citrus exocortis viroid (CEV) from a single sweet orange citrus source have been selected by sequential passage through the alternative hosts citron, , a hybrid tomato , and from disorganized callus culture of the hybrid tomato. The distinctions in symptom expression, titre and electrophoretic mobility among the CEV isolates, operationally termed CEVc (citron), CEVg (), CEVt (tomato) and CEVcls (callus) are supported by characteristically different nucleotide sequences. The nucleotide sequence of full-length cDNA clones of CEVc purified from citron shows exchanges not reported for any previously described CEV variant. An unusual number of exchanges have been localized in the terminal domains of all the isolates analysed here. A common pattern of nucleotide exchanges, described as a ‘tomato signature’, can be detected in all of the isolates derived from hybrid tomato tissues.


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