Volume 10 of Current Opinion in Virology, focusing on “Emerging viruses: interspecies transmission”, was co-edited by Antoine Gessain (Institut Pasteur, Paris, France) and Fernando García-Arenal (Centro de Biotecnología y Genómica de Plantas UPM-INIA, Madrid, Spain). It is perhaps worth mentioning that this is the first time that Current Opinion in Virology Section dedicated to virus emergence has a plant virologist as an Editor, and that advances in understanding virus emergence are illustrated with studies focused on plant-infecting viruses.
Although emergence of plant viruses has received less attention than for viruses causing diseases in humans or domestic and wild animals, consequences for food security, for the economy of large sections of society and for ecosystem composition and dynamics, hence, for society at large, can be as serious as for human diseases. In this issue Marilyn Roossinck and Fernando García-Arenal review the few recent studies on the role of ecosystem simplification in plant virus emergence, which strongly suggest that the outcome of plant-virus interactions is highly environment-dependent, varying between mutualism and disease emergence. These pioneer studies also underscore the relevance of virus emergence into wild plants from crops, with high potential impacts in wild ecosystems.