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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Jan;72(1):606-11.

Prevalence and transmission of honeybee viruses.

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  • 1Bee Research Laboratory, USDA-ARS, Bldg. 476, BARC East, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA. chenj@ba.ars.usda.gov


Transmission mechanisms of six honeybee viruses, including acute bee paralysis virus (ABPV), black queen cell virus (BQCV), chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPV), deformed wing virus (DWV), Kashmir bee virus (KBV), and sacbrood bee virus (SBV), in honey bee colonies were investigated by reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) methods. The virus status of individual queens was evaluated by examining the presence of viruses in the queens' feces and tissues, including hemolymph, gut, ovaries, spermatheca, head, and eviscerated body. Except for head tissue, all five tissues as well as queen feces were found to be positive for virus infections. When queens in bee colonies were identified as positive for BQCV, DWV, CBPV, KBV, and SBV, the same viruses were detected in their offspring, including eggs, larvae, and adult workers. On the other hand, when queens were found positive for only two viruses, BQCV and DWV, only these two viruses were detected in their offspring. The presence of viruses in the tissue of ovaries and the detection of the same viruses in queens' eggs and young larvae suggest vertical transmission of viruses from queens to offspring. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence of vertical transmission of viruses in honeybee colonies.

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