Core Partner, Plant viruses, EU

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The Italian National Research Council (C.N.R.) is the largest public research institution in Italy, the only one under tge Research Ministry performing multidisciplinary activities. CNR's mission is to perform research in its own Institutes, to promote innovation and competitiveness of the national industrial system, to promote the internationalization of the national research system, to provide technologies and solutions to emerging public and private needs, to advice Government and other public bodies, and to contribute to the qualification of humanresources. One of its Institutes, the Institute of Sustainable Plant Protection (IPSP) results from the recent merging of the institute for Plant Virology (IVV), the most important and largest research group in the field of plant virology in Italy and theformer Institute for Plant Protection. The new Institute counts about 120 staff members and includes 5 ResearchUnits: the Turin Headquarter, dedicated to virus and phytoplasma diseases; the Turin Unit, mostly dealing with mycorrhiza studies; the FlorenceUnit, including a strong forest pathology group; the Portici Unit (Naples), with strong interest in agricultural entomology and biocontrol of insects and fungi; and the Bari Unit, including a group working on plant harming nematodes, and one on virus, viroids and bacteria of fruit trees and Mediterranean crops. Such Italy-wide geographical distribution is an unprecedented opportunity to represent different social, economic and agro-ecological aspects of agriculture in Southern Europe. IPSP is the most important CNR research group dedicated to plantprotection in agriculture and forestry and it is one of the most renowned in Europe. It has been on the front line for decades in detecting and reporting new viral diseases in Italy and Mediterranean countries, owing to the expertise of its researchers and the dedicated equipment. Concerning the storage and availability of plant viruses, viroids and their related products, inside the objectives of EVAg project, a large collection of plant virus and viroid specimens (PlaVIT) is available, mainly in Torino Headquarters, including more than 120 species of plant viruses and nearly 1000 virus isolates, strains or accessions from several countries, collected from the 60s to the present day. Along the decades the technological advances were relevant, as a consequence the quality level among accessions is uneven, going from simple serological identification to full sequence and possibly infectious clones.

Main topics of CNR-IPSPstudies, in addition to standard diagnostic activities of the most economically important plant viruses and viroids, are plant virus and viroid molecular and taxonomical characterization and new plant virus discovery. Isolates belonging to nineteen different viral Families and to both viroid Familieshave been extensively studied at CNR-IPSP. Among them, viral Families like Virgaviridae, Peribunyaviridae, Geminiviridae, Bromoviridaeand Potyviridae, listing isolates of the "Top Ten" plant viruses ranking list, based on perceived scientifically or economically importance, are present. Moreover, IPSP has been involved in discovering new viral families such as Aspiviridae (Ophioviridae) and Partitiviridae, and the Ourmiavirus Genus.