How are viroids different from viruses?

Viroids are infectious entities that affect plants which are smaller compared to a virus. They consist of only the nucleic acid without a protein coat. Viruses are an infective agent consisting of a nucleic acid molecule in a protein coat 

Viroids are different from viruses in the following ways:

  • Its RNA does not code for protein
  • It exists within the cells as RNA particles only with no envelope or capsid
  • It possesses only one circular RNA strand comprising of very few nucleotides
  • Contrary to viruses, viroids require no help of viruses to infect cells
  • Contrary to viruses of which the RNA can be copied in the nucleus or cytoplasm, the RNA of viroids are copied in the nucleus only
  • To detect the presence of viroids in the plant tissues, special techniques are used 

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