Transmission through seed of crop and weed plants seems to be characteristic of nematode-borne viruses. It occurred with tomato black ring virus (TBRV) in nineteen species (thirteen botanical families), with arabis mosaic virus (AMV) in thirteen species (eleven families), with raspberry ringspot virus (RRV) in six species (five families), and also, in more limited tests, with tomato ringspot, cherry leaf roll and tobacco rattle viruses. A remarkable feature was that infected seedlings, except those containing tobacco rattle virus, often appeared healthy. The occurrence and extent of seed-transmission depended on both the virus and the host plant. In many progenies more than 10%, and in some 100%, of seedlings were infected. The viruses were transmitted through at least two or three generations of seed of those host species tested. After 6 years’ storage, TBRV- and RRV-containing seed of Capsella bursa-pastoris and Stellaria media germinated to give infected seedlings.
In controlled crossing experiments with strawberry and raspberry, virus was transmitted to seed from both male and female parents but, at least in raspberry, the presence of competing virus-free pollen much decreased the ability of pollen from infected plants to set seed. There was no evidence that healthy mother plants became infected when their flowers were pollinated with infected pollen.