What is a virus?

  • M. H. V. Van Regenmortel
Part of the Archives of Virology book series (ARCHIVES SUPPL, volume 5)


The earlier reluctance of some plant virologists to use the term “virus species” has been overcome and the species has now been accepted as the basic unit in virus classification. A virus species is a polythetic class of viruses that constitutes a replicating lineage and occupies a particular ecological niche. Because of the polythetic nature of virus species, there is no single property, such as a particular level of genome homology, that could be used as the sole criterion for delineating individual virus species.


Species Concept Concrete Object Virus Species Soybean Mosaic Virus Universal Class 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. H. V. Van Regenmortel
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut de Biologie Moleculaire et CellulaireStrasbourgFrance

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