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Roenhorst, Annelien; van der Vlugt, René; Leichtfried, Thomas; Menzel, Wulf; Lacomme, Christophe
Plant diseases, including many plant viruses, are a continuous threat to the cost effective and safe production of food and cause significant losses in yield and quality of many important crops. It is therefore essential to minimise the impact of plant diseases through an effective and coordinated system of legislation, plant passports and testing laboratories. In such system, reliable and cost-effective diagnosis methods for plant viruses are essential. These only can be developed, validated and implemented when suitable reference materials are available. Historically, reference materials were supplied from collections maintained by European universities and research institutions. However the maintenance of such collections had come under severe pressure due to a decrease in the number of scientists (virologists in particular) and allocated budgets. For plant viruses and viroids, type isolates (if still available) were dispersed between different public and/or private collections (Roenhorst et al., 2013). The Euphresco project VirusCollect aimed to establish a common reference collection of viruses and viroids by linking collections of individual institutions via Q-bank.
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