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ARS Home » Plains Area » Manhattan, Kansas » Center for Grain and Animal Health Research » ABADRU » Research » Research Project #444987

Research Project: Heritable Viruses in Insects

Location: Arthropod-borne Animal Diseases Research

Project Number: 3020-32000-019-006-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Mar 15, 2024
End Date: Mar 14, 2026

The main objective is to explore the dynamics of heritable viruses and host phenotypes using two well-study laboratory model systems. The main goal is explored through two specific goals: (1) determining the tissue-specific distribution and tropism of recently discovered aphid-specific heritable flaviruses and (2) investigating a heritable (vertically transmitted) rhabdovirus, vesicular stomatitis virus, in biting midges.

Heritable microorganisms can shape insect mating, egg laying, feeding behaviors, body size, and antiviral immunity. They are important drivers of microbe and host evolution, as well as maintenance of microbes in nature which can lead to animal disease emergence. Interactions between hosts and heritable bacteria have been extensively studied, but research on the prevalence of vertical transmission of viruses, and their effects on host evolution and pathogen maintenance, is lacking. We will determine the spatio-temporal tissue tropism of heritable flaviviruses in aphids using immunohistochemical staining of time course samples. And we will investigate the heritability of vesicular stomatitis virus in biting midges by conducting a time course transovarial transmission study where virus will be detected by molecular, virological, and immunohistochemical methods.