Recently identified bee viruses and their impact on bee pollinators


Alexander J. McMenamin, Michelle L. Flenniken


Current Opinion in Insect Science


Bees are agriculturally and ecologically important plant pollinators. Recent high annual losses of honey bee colonies, and reduced populations of native and wild bees in some geographic locations, may impact the availability of affordable food crops and the diversity and abundance of native and wild plant species. Multiple factors including viral infections affect pollinator health. The majority of well-characterized bee viruses are picorna-like RNA viruses, which may be maintained as covert infections or cause symptomatic infections or death. Next generation sequencing technologies have been utilized to identify additional bee-infecting viruses including the Lake Sinai viruses and Rhabdoviruses. In addition, sequence data is instrumental for defining specific viral strains and characterizing associated pathogenicity, such as the recent characterization of Deformed wing virus master variants (DWV-A, DWV-B, and DWV-C) and their impact on bee health.



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