Plant viruses and their vectors cause serious economic losses, limit crop production, and have negative effects on the quality and security of food supplies. Infection by viruses is a major cause of degeneration of potato seed stocks, particularly by aphid-borne viruses.

Current approaches to the protection of plants from viruses are primarily based on poorly understood mechanisms and it is likely that more detailed knowledge will lead to improved virus management.

Plant virus genomes are relatively small and therefore are physically unable to encode all the products needed for development of virus infection. When establishing infection, viruses recruit natural host factors to replicate and spread. These factors are candidate targets for novel virus resistance approaches.