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Viroids vs. Prions: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 26, 2023
Viroids refers to infectious RNA molecules. Prions refers to infectious proteins.

Key Differences

Viroids are simple plant pathogens, composed entirely of a short strand of circular RNA, without any protein coating. Prions, in contrast, are infectious agents consisting of misfolded proteins, affecting the nervous systems of animals, including humans.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023
Viroids are known for causing various plant diseases, and their RNA does not encode any proteins. Prions cause diseases like mad cow disease, and are proteins that can induce abnormal folding of normal cellular proteins.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023
The replication mechanism of viroids occurs within the host cell, exploiting the cellular machinery. Prions replicate by converting normal proteins into the prion form, through a change in shape rather than reproduction.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023
Viroids are among the smallest infectious pathogens, solely relying on host cell enzymes for replication. Prions are larger, consisting of proteins, and can exist in both normal and infectious forms in organisms.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023
While both viroids and prions cause disease, viroids are limited to plants, and prions primarily affect animal species, including humans, leading to neurodegenerative disorders.
Harlon Moss
Oct 26, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Nature

Circular RNA molecules.
Misfolded proteins.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Infectivity

Infect plants.
Infect animals, including humans.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Replication

Utilize host's cellular RNA.
Convert normal proteins to prions.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Diseases Caused

Plant diseases.
Neurodegenerative diseases.
Harlon Moss
Oct 26, 2023

Size

Smaller.
Larger.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023
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Composition

RNA only.
Protein only.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 26, 2023

Viroids and Prions Definitions

Viroids

Circular RNA pathogens without protein coating.
Citrus trees are often affected by viroids.
Harlon Moss
Oct 26, 2023

Prions

Proteins causing transmissible spongiform encephalopathies.
Kuru, once prevalent in Papua New Guinea, is a prion disease.
Sara Rehman
Oct 26, 2023

Viroids

Smallest known infectious agents.
Viroids replicate inside plant cells.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Prions

Misfolded proteins causing neurodegenerative diseases.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is caused by prions.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 26, 2023

Viroids

Infectious RNA molecules causing plant diseases.
The potato spindle tuber disease is caused by a viroid.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 26, 2023

Prions

Infectious proteins transmitting fatal brain diseases.
Prions are responsible for mad cow disease.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Viroids

Autonomous replicating RNA causing plant disorders.
The avocado sunblotch is a result of a viroid infection.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 26, 2023

Prions

Abnormal isoforms of cellular proteins, infectious.
Prions are unique in their ability to propagate without nucleic acids.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 26, 2023

Viroids

Non-coding RNA molecules, pathogenic to plants.
Viroids can severely impact agricultural crops.
Sara Rehman
Oct 26, 2023

Prions

Pathogenic agents inducing abnormal protein folding.
Prions can turn normal brain proteins into diseased forms.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 26, 2023

Viroids

An infectious particle, similar to but smaller than a virus, that consists solely of a strand of RNA and is capable of causing disease in plants.
Sumera Saeed
Aug 13, 2019

Prions

Plural of prion
Sumera Saeed
Aug 13, 2019

Viroids

Plural of viroid
Sumera Saeed
Aug 13, 2019

FAQs

What are prions?

Prions are misfolded proteins that cause neurodegenerative diseases.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 26, 2023

How do viroids replicate?

Viroids replicate by hijacking the host plant's cellular machinery.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

What are viroids?

Viroids are infectious RNA molecules that cause diseases in plants.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

How do prions replicate?

Prions replicate by inducing the misfolding of normal proteins.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Are viroids visible under a microscope?

Due to their small size, viroids are not typically visible under a light microscope.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Can prions affect any animal?

Prions primarily affect mammals, but not all animal species are susceptible.
Sara Rehman
Oct 26, 2023

Can viroids infect humans?

No, viroids are known to infect only plants.
Janet White
Oct 26, 2023

What types of diseases do viroids cause?

Viroids cause various plant diseases, often affecting crops.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Can viroids be treated?

There's no direct treatment for viroids; control often involves removing infected plants.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 26, 2023

How are viroids transmitted?

Viroids can be transmitted through infected plant material and mechanical tools.
Sara Rehman
Oct 26, 2023

Do prions contain RNA or DNA?

No, prions are purely proteinaceous and do not contain nucleic acids.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Are prions infectious to plants?

Prions primarily infect animals, including humans, not plants.
Janet White
Oct 26, 2023

Do viroids contain any proteins?

No, viroids are made up solely of RNA without any protein coating.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Is there a cure for prion diseases?

Currently, there is no cure for prion diseases.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

How are prions transmitted?

Prions are transmitted through ingestion of infected tissue or hereditary factors.
Sara Rehman
Oct 26, 2023

Can prions be destroyed by cooking?

Prions are remarkably resistant and are not reliably destroyed by normal cooking temperatures.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Are viroids considered living organisms?

Viroids are not considered living organisms; they are infectious RNA molecules.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

What's the impact of viroids on agriculture?

Viroids can have significant economic impacts by damaging crops.
Sara Rehman
Oct 26, 2023

What diseases are caused by prions?

Prions cause diseases like mad cow disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Are there vaccines for prion diseases?

Currently, there are no vaccines available for prion diseases.
Janet White
Oct 26, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.

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