Doomed drones? Using passage experiments and mathematical modelling to determine Deformed wing virus population dynamics in male honeybees

Luke Woodford, Pieter C Steketee, David J Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Varroa destructor is an ectoparasitic mite of honeybees which vectors a range of pathogenic viruses, the most notable being Deformed wing virus (DWV). Mites parasitise bees during pupal development and male honeybees, drones, have a longer development cycle than female workers (24 versus 21 days), allow for more progeny mites to develop per foundress (1.6-2.5 compared to 0.7-1.45). How this longer exposure time influences evolution of the transmitted virus population is unknown. Using uniquely tagged viruses recovered from cDNA we investigated the replication, competition and morbidity of DWV genotypes in drones. Assays examining virus replication and morbidity revealed drones are highly susceptible to both predominant genotypes of DWV. In virus passage studies using an equimolar inocula of major DNA genotypes and their recombinants, the recombinant form dominated but did not reach 100% of the virus population within 10 passages. Using an in-silico model of the virus-mite-bee system we examined bottlenecks during virus acquisition by the mite and subsequent injection of viruses into the host, which may play a significant role in shaping virus diversity. This study furthers our understanding of the variables influencing DWV diversity changes and provides insight into areas of future research in the mite-virus-bee system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20231010
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings. Biological sciences
Volume290
Issue number2001
Early online date21 Jun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Jun 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Animals
  • Bees
  • Female
  • Male
  • Unmanned Aerial Devices
  • RNA Viruses/genetics
  • Varroidae
  • Viruses

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