Image of the Day: Ringspots

Tiny insects carry the tomato spotted wilt virus, which causes infected plants to develop discolored ring-shape blotches.

Jan 25, 2019
Carolyn Wilke
An Emilia plant leaf infected with tomato spotted wilt virus
BRIAN BONVILLE

Leaves of plants infected by the tomato spotted wilt virus develop discolored blotches called ringspots. The disease is transmitted by tiny insects called thrips that carry the RNA virus as they move from plant to plant. 

Many types of plants fall prey to the virus—including tomato, pepper, and tobacco—and researchers at North Carolina State University are working to understand why. The scientists are watching the virus move alternately through host plants and its insect vectors and sequencing its genetic information between steps to discover how the virus evolves.