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The plant virus genus Tenuivirus belongs to the family Phenuiviridae. The members of the other genera in this family do not infect plants and cause diseases in humans and animals like the Rift Valley fever virus.
The genus Tenuivirus includes viruses which are similar to the Rice stripe virus. The particles are characteristically thin (3–6 nm in width) and thread-like, highly flexuous and of undefined lengths. The multipartite genomes contain negative and ambisense components, RNA3 has always ambisense organization. The ssRNAs have 5´ and 3´ terminal base complementarity.
The viruses have some similarities with those classified in the family Bunyaviridae. However, the number of genome components (four or five) and the apparent lack of a membrane bound virus particle differs from other genera of that family.
Currently, the following species have been entered into the system: