Difference between Plant Virus and Animal Virus

“Viruses are obligate intracellular parasites that have either DNA or RNA as their genome and are covered by a protective protein coat”.

A variety of viruses exist on this planet, and there are sets of these viruses that infect other living cells, be they a prokaryote or eukaryotes. The viruses that infect prokaryotic/bacterial cells are called bacteriophages. Similarly, viruses that affect plants and animals are called plant viruses and animal viruses, respectively.

Plant Virus

Plant viruses are intracellular parasites that infect plants and cause diseases. Their genetic material is mostly RNA that can be single or double-stranded, and most plant viruses are rod-shaped. These viruses do not have the machinery to replicate without a host organism.

They do not have envelopes around them. Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) is a plant virus and was the first to be discovered.

Plant viruses are used in genetic engineering techniques as viral vectors to enhance the quality and quantity of plants.

Animal Virus

Animal viruses are obligate parasites that infect animals. Their genetic material is either DNA or RNA, which can be single or double-stranded.

They are known to cause serious human diseases, such as AIDS, rabies, smallpox, herpes, polio, hepatitis A and many more.

Plant Virus vs Animal Virus

Plant Virus Animal Virus
Plant viruses are the ones that infect plant cells. Animal viruses are the ones that infect animal cells.
Genetic Material
Mostly RNA Mostly DNA
Strands in the Genetic Material
Mostly single-stranded. Mostly double-stranded.
Presence of Envelope
Plant viruses do not contain the fatty envelope of proteins. Animal viruses have an envelope layer.
Transmission of the Virus
  1. Plasmodesmata
  2. Insects
  3. Plant sap
Animal viruses do not need to penetrate the cell wall like the plant virus, and their transmission occurs in two ways:

  1. Endocytosis
  2. Modifications in the protein capsid.
Tobacco mosaic virus, cauliflower mosaic virus, potato virus Y, cucumber mosaic virus, etc. HIV, adenovirus, rotavirus, poliovirus, coronavirus, human papillomavirus, etc.
Diseases Caused
Leaf curling, chlorosis, blisters, necrosis and mottling. AIDS, polio, influenza, rabies, hepatitis A, smallpox, and covid-19
Plant viruses are used as vectors to enhance the quantity and quality of plants. They are used in the making of vaccines.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Difference between Plant Virus and Animal Virus


Can the same virus infect plants and animals?

No, the same virus cannot infect both plants and animals.


What is the difference between viruses and viroids?

Viruses have either DNA or RNA as their genetic material and can infect all types of living organisms on the Earth. On the other hand, virions are circular RNAs that are known to infect plants only.


Who is the father of virology?

Martinus Beijerinck is known as the father of virology.


When was the first virus discovered?

The first virus to be discovered was the Tobacco mosaic virus in 1892 by Ivanoski.


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