VIR-50306 BSc Research Project Ecology of Plant Viruses


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper28
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. ir. RAA van der Vlugt
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. ir. RAA van der Vlugt
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. RAA van der Vlugt

Language of instruction:

NL and/or EN

Assumed knowledge on:

One of the following courses: PHP-30806 Molecular Aspects of Bio-Interactions; ENT-20806 Integrated Pest Management, NEM-20806 Basics of Infectious Diseases, PHP-21303 Fundamentals of Plant Pathology and Entomology

Continuation courses:

YPS-82318 BSc Thesis Plant Sciences, YBI-85812 BSc Thesis Biology, YML-80321 BSc Thesis Molecular Life Sciences


Half of the viruses known to men are plant viruses. They are wide-spread and have major agricultural and social-economic impacts. Recent research has shown they occupy almost every ecological niche and many more plant viruses (and variants) exist than we currently know. Many of these do not automatically cause diseases and their role in (natural) ecosystems is very poorly understood. Many plant viruses are transmitted (vectored) by insects through specific interactions and as such spread between natural and agricultural systems.
During this course, the student will get acquainted with basic molecular, ecological and/or virological tools to study the interaction between plants, viruses and their insect vectors. This can be aimed at understanding virus occurrence and variability in diverse ecosystems and vectors and studying the mechanism of viral manipulation of host reaction and vector manipulation. After developing a clear hypothesis, experimental research will be conducted to test this hypothesis. Experimental approaches may include: virus detection, virus-host and virus-vector interactions, (Q) RT-PCR, constructing recombinant viruses (cloning, recombination).

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- develop a clear and testable hypothesis on plant-virus and virus-vector interactions;
- perform and critically evaluate experiments in order to study plant - virus and vector - virus interactions;
- undertake academic methods of scientific study (problem identification, review of scientific literature, data collection, analysis and assessment of scientific information);
- convey the results obtained from experimentation and analysis by means of a written report.


Develop hypothesis, design and perform molecular, ecological and/or behavioural experiments with plant viruses or plant virus vectors, study plant - virus and vector - virus interactions, literature research, writing a scientific paper.


Written report on practical assignments and evaluation by examiner. The minimum mark for the written report is 5.5.


Provided at the start of the course