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Viruses. 2011 Nov;3(11):2214-22. doi: 10.3390/v3112214. Epub 2011 Nov 10.

Biology and genomics of viruses within the genus Gammabaculovirus.

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  • 1Laboratory for Molecular Virology, Great Lakes Forestry Centre, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario P6A 2E5, Canada.


Hymenoptera is a very large and ancient insect order encompassing bees, wasps, ants and sawflies. Fossil records indicate that they existed over 200 million years ago and about 100 million years before the appearance of Lepidoptera. Sawflies have been major pests in many parts of the world and some have caused serious forest defoliation in North America. All baculoviruses isolated from sawflies are of the single nucleocapsids phenotype and appear to replicate in midgut cells only. This group of viruses has been shown to be excellent pest control agents and three have been registered in Canada and Britain for this purpose. Sawfly baculoviruses contain the smallest genome of all baculoviruses sequenced so far. Gene orders among sequenced sawfly baculoviruses are co-linear but this is not shared with the genomes of lepidopteran baculoviruses. One distinguishing feature among all sequenced sawfly viruses is the lack of a gene encoding a membrane fusion protein, which brought into question the role of the budded virus phenotype in Gammabaculovirus biology.


Hymenopteran baculoviruses; biocontrol agents; genomics

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