Virus-based expression vectors are commonplace tools for the production of proteins or the induction of RNA silencing in herbaceous plants. This review considers a completely different set of uses for viral vectors in perennial fruit and nut crops, which can be productive for periods of up to 100 years. Viral vectors could be used in the field to modify existing plants. Furthermore, with continually emerging pathogens and pests, viral vectors could express genes to protect the plants or even to treat plants after they become infected. As technologies develop during the life span of these crops, viral vectors can be used for adding new genes as an alternative to pushing up the crop and replanting with transgenic plants. Another value of virus-based vectors is that they add nothing permanently to the environment. This requires that effective and stable viral vectors be developed for specific crops from endemic viruses. Studies using viruses from perennial hosts suggest that these objectives could be accomplished.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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