Most plant viruses rely on the production of subgenomic RNAs (sgRNAs) for the expression of their genes and survival in the plant. Although this is a widely adopted strategy among viruses, the mechanism(s) whereby sgRNA production occurs remains poorly defined. Turnip yellow mosaic tymovirus (TYMV) is a positive-stranded RNA virus that produces an sgRNA for the expression of its coat protein. Here we report that the subgenomic promoter sequence of TYMV is located on a 494-nucleotide fragment, containing previously identified highly conserved sequence elements, which are shown here to be essential for promoter function. After duplication, the subgenomic promoter can be inserted into the coat protein open reading frame, giving rise to the in vivo production of a second sgRNA. It is suggested that this promoter can function when contained on a different molecule than viral genomic RNA. This interesting trait may be of general use for plant and plant virus research.