Diversity in a honey bee pathogen: first report of a third master variant of the Deformed Wing Virus quasispecies
Martin, Stephen J.
Jones, Ian M.
Schroeder, Declan C.
The ISME Journal: multidisciplinary journal of microbial ecology
Nature Publishing Group
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Treatment of emerging RNA viruses is hampered by the high mutation and replication rates that enable these viruses to operate as a quasispecies. Declining honey bee populations have been attributed to the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor and its affiliation with Deformed Wing Virus (DWV). In the current study we use next-generation sequencing to investigate the DWV quasispecies in an apiary known to suffer from overwintering colony losses (OCL). We show that the DWV species complex is made up of three master variants. Our results indicate that a new DWV type C variant is distinct from the previously described types A and B, but together they form a distinct clade compared to other members of the Iflaviridae. The molecular clock estimation predicts that type C diverged from the other variants around 319 years ago. The discovery of a new master variant of DWV has important implications for the positive identification of the true pathogen within global honeybee populations.
Advance online publication 17 November 2015