Arch Virol 145/11 (2000) Virology Division News VDN In his paper “The post-Loeffler era: contribution of German virologists” (in: “100 Years of Virology,” C. H. Calisher and M. C. Horzinek, eds., Arch. Virol. Suppl. 15, p. 43–61, 1999), R. Rott states: “Certainly, one of the most remarkable discoveries in plant virology in the post-Schramm era was the simultaneous and independent finding by Theodor O. Diener in the USA and Heinz L. Sänger in Giessen of ‘naked’ small RNA molecules as a new kind of autonomously replicating subviral plant pathogens known today as viroids.” This statement is demonstrably wrong. In a paper published in August 1971 (Virology 45: 411–428), I presented conclusive evidence that the agent of the potato spindle tuber disease (now known as PSTVd) possesses unique properties that distinguish it from all viruses, thus representing the prototype of a novel class of pathogen, for which I proposed the term viroid. Sänger, after having heard my presentation at the 1971 International Congress for Virology and being cognizant of my 1971 Virology paper (op. cit.), simply applied the methodology developed for PSTVd to another plant pathogen, the agent of the citrus exocortis disease (then known as ExC). That Sänger himself
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 1, 2000
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