ORONO — Greater understanding of the biology of one of the most destructive plant viruses to potato crops will be the focus of a research hub at the University of Maine that is part of a new $6.1 million institute focused on virology and host-virus dynamics.

The National Science Foundation awarded the grant to the University of Arkansas to establish the Host-Virus Evolutionary Dynamics Institute. Hub sites will be located at the University of Maine, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Ouachita Baptist University and Universidad Interamericana in Puerto Rico.

Scientists will study multiple virus systems across all domains of life — Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya. The goal is to establish fundamental “rules of life,” or laws of virology, that apply to all viruses — or at least large sets of virus systems. Read more