Jessica Fannon - PhD Research Student, University of Warwick.
The European honeybee (Apis mellifera) is the world’s most economically significant managed insect pollinator - there is a global decline in the honeybee population, which, if unchecked will have wide ranging impacts for both food production and the natural environment.
The spread of the parasitic mite, Varroa destructor (and the RNA viruses that it transmits between honeybees) is closely linked to increased in overwintering losses and declining honeybee health. Deformed wing virus (DWV; Iflaviridae) a picorna-like single-stranded, positive-sense, RNA virus, is widespread in honeybees and usually present as a low level, asymptomatic infection. However, the transmission of DWV by Varroa to developing pupae causes vastly elevated virus levels and characteristic developmental abnormalities.
Our current work aims to further the understanding of DWV virulence and pathogenicity and reveal how this is linked to Varroa parasitism.