Researchers at the University of Stuttgart, in cooperation with two academic groups led by Prof. Dr. Eduardo Rodríguez Bejarano, Universidad de Malaga, and Dr. Bruno Gronenborn, Institut des Sciences du Végétal, Paris along with the company Qiagen as industrial partner and specialist in diagnostic test methods, have been operating an international virus reference centre since 2007. The centre receives a total of 1.2 million euros in funding from the EU for a period of three years, of which 600,000 euros go towards the research carried out by the Stuttgart researchers.
A major focus of the centre is the establishment of a gene bank to store and characterise viral DNA from across the globe. The Stuttgart scientists are specifically focusing on Gemini viruses with a two-component genome, the Spanish scientists are working on Gemini viruses with a one-component genome and the French scientists are researching nanoviruses. All these viruses are known to cause numerous plant diseases.