A new viroid associated with an apple fruit disorder similar to, but more severe than, the dapple apple disease induced in some varieties by apple scar skin viroid (ASSVd) has been found. The new viroid, tentatively termed apple dimple fruit viroid (ADFVd), is a circular RNA of 306 nucleotides which adopts a quasi-rod-like conformation of minimum free energy. It contains the core nucleotides of the central conserved region (CCR) of the ASSVd group as well as the terminal conserved region (TCR) present in all members of the ASSVd and potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd) monophyletic groups. ADFVd has the highest sequence similarity with ASSVd and the 294 nucleotide citrus viroid CVd-IIIb, sharing with the latter an almost identical left terminal domain. The right- and left-hand termini of ADFVd are formed by almost perfect duplications of sequences found in the CCR upper and lower strands, respectively, of PSTVd and closely related viroids.


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