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”.

There are a variety of viruses that exist on this planet, and there are sets of these viruses that infect other living cells, be it a prokaryote or eukaryote. 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 the majority of 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 diseases in humans 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 the plant cells.

Animal viruses are the ones that infect the 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.

Visit BYJU’S Biology for more interesting topics.

Also Read:

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.

Leave a Comment

Your Mobile number and Email id will not be published. Required fields are marked *




Free Class