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Insects. 2017 Mar 7;8(1). pii: E28. doi: 10.3390/insects8010028.

A Comparison of Deformed Wing Virus in Deformed and Asymptomatic Honey Bees.

Author information

1
School of Environment and Life Sciences, The University of Salford, Manchester M5 4WT, UK. l.e.brettell@edu.salford.ac.uk.
2
Viral Ecology, Marine Biological Association, Plymouth PL7 5BU, UK. gidmor@MBA.ac.uk.
3
School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AJ, UK. gidmor@MBA.ac.uk.
4
Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada. gidmor@MBA.ac.uk.
5
Viral Ecology, Marine Biological Association, Plymouth PL7 5BU, UK. dsch@MBA.ac.uk.
6
School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AJ, UK. i.m.jones@reading.ac.uk.
7
Centro de Ciências Agrárias, Ambientais e Biológicas, Universidade Federal do Recôncavo da Bahia, Rua Rui Barbosa, 710 Centro, Cruz Das AlmasBahia State 44380-000, Brazil. r.jessicarosa@gmail.com.
8
VISAVET, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Complutense University de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain. mvrubiano@vet.ucm.es.
9
Animal Health Department, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Universidad Compultense de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain. mvrubiano@vet.ucm.es.
10
School of Environment and Life Sciences, The University of Salford, Manchester M5 4WT, UK. s.j.martin@salford.ac.uk.

Abstract

Deformed wing virus (DWV) in association with Varroa destructor is currently attributed to being responsible for colony collapse in the western honey bee (Apis mellifera). The appearance of deformed individuals within an infested colony has long been associated with colony losses. However, it is unknown why only a fraction of DWV positive bees develop deformed wings. This study concerns two small studies comparing deformed and non-deformed bees. In Brazil, asymptomatic bees (no wing deformity) that had been parasitised by Varroa as pupae had higher DWV loads than non-parasitised bees. However, we found no greater bilateral asymmetry in wing morphology due to DWV titres or parasitisation. As expected, using RT-qPCR, deformed bees were found to contain the highest viral loads. In a separate study, next generation sequencing (NGS) was applied to compare the entire DWV genomes from paired symptomatic and asymptomatic bees from three colonies on two different Hawaiian islands. This revealed no consistent differences between DWV genomes from deformed or asymptomatic bees, with the greatest variation seen between locations, not phenotypes. All samples, except one, were dominated by DWV type A. This small-scale study suggests that there is no unique genetic variant associated with wing deformity; but that many DWV variants have the potential to cause deformity.

KEYWORDS:

RTPCR; Varroa; deformed wing virus; honeybee; next generation sequencing

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