Dissociation-reassociation experiments performed with turnip yellow mosaic virus in the presence of various RNAs and polynucleotides were used to investigate the degree of specificity and the contribution of the associated RNA moiety to the stability of TYMV. The results emphasize the importance of strategic cytosine residues spread along the RNA chain. Some insight into the contribution of the protein could be gained from comparison of TYMV and eggplant mosaic virus (EMV), a virus similar to TYMV although its top component contains low molecular mass RNAs able to bind various amino acids. Hydrophobic interactions between protein subunits are less important in EMV than in TYMV, and artificial capsids could be obtained from dissociated EMV coat protein. Whether the capsid is or is not the precursor of the virion in tymovirus morpho-genesis is discussed.