- Viroids are extremely small plant pathogens that consist of tiny single-stranded molecules of RNA, usually only a few hundred nucleotides long.
- Unlike viruses, they lack a protein capsid to protect their genetic material from damage. Viroids don’t code for proteins and are commonly circular in shape.
- Viroids are thought to interfere with a plant’s metabolism leading to underdevelopment. They disrupt plant protein production by interrupting transcription in host cells.
Transcription is a process that involves the transcribing of genetic information from DNA to RNA. The transcribed DNA message is used to produce proteins. Viroids cause a number of plant diseases that severely impact crop production. Some common plant viroids include the potato spindle tuber viroid, peach latent mosaic viroid, avocado sunblotch viroid, and the pear blister canker viroid.