This review covers 35 years (1980-2014) representing a period of changing land use and agricultural practices in the United Kingdom (UK), which have also witnessed a marked change in the availability and application of new diagnostic technologies. During this period there have been 53 first records of viruses and viroids, of which 36 were first UK findings and a further 17 previously undescribed viruses. Given the challenges in detection and diagnosis of plant viruses, the field of plant virology has been an early adopter of new diagnostic technologies and these data highlight the transition from a reliance on biological, morphological, and serological based identification to the increased application of nucleic acid based detection methods and latterly the emergence of Next-Generation Sequencing. This review presents a comprehensive record of these findings and an analysis of how the potential drivers of change such as commodity based research, trade, as well as the application of diagnostic technology, could have influenced the frequency and type of findings.
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