We Can Test for Hops Latent Viroid!


When reading about cannabis-related diseases like Alfalfa Mosaic Virus or HpLvd, you may come across terms like virus or viroid. While the two sound similar, they are actually quite different. So what exactly is the difference? Let’s take a look to find out.


What is a Virus?

According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, “A virus is an infectious microbe consisting of a segment of nucleic acid (either DNA or RNA) surrounded by a protein coat.”


Viruses thrive by multiplying in living beings like animals, plants, and humans. The shape of viruses can come in two different forms. The first being a rod shape also known as filaments. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, “so called because of the linear array of the nucleic acid and the protein subunits.” The second is a 20-sided polygon shaped commonly called spheres.


When we think of viruses, we commonly think of the flu. However, viruses can impact cannabis plants as well. The viruses that impact a plant are drastically different from the ones that impact humans, but have adverse reactions all the same.

Examples of Viruses

There is an extensive list of known viruses that can impact cannabis plants. Some of the viruses that growers should keep an eye out for are

  • Alfalfa Mosaic Virus
  • Cucumber Mosaic Virus
  • Tobacco Streak Virus
  • Tomato Ringspot Virus
  • Beet Curly Top Virus


What is a Viroid?

While virus is a term everyone has heard of, viroid is a lesser-known term, but just as important. Unlike a virus, a viroid is much smaller in size. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, “ The particle consists only of an extremely small circular RNA (ribonucleic acid) molecule, lacking the protein coat of a virus.”


Viroids mainly impact plants as opposed to hosts like humans or animals. Current research suggests viroids may have existed before the emergence of DNA and proteins. According to reports published through the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “There is evidence from sequence analyses that viroid-like RNAs have evolved into viruses and that during evolution viruses or their ancestors predate the appearance of the last universal cellular ancestor. These early virus-like entities have likely evolved protein and DNA synthesis in the absence of cells.”


Examples of Viroids

Viroids can impact a number of crop plants, including cannabis and hemp plants. Some of these viroids include (but are not limited to);

  • Hop Stunt Viroid
  • Hop Latent Viroid

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