Evolutionary Applications (2009) 2, 209-221

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Mark P. Zwart, Wopke van der Werf, Monique M. van Oers, Lia Hemerik, Jan M.V. van Lent, J. Arjan G.M. de Visser, Just M. Vlak and Jenny S. Cory (2009)
Mixed infections and the competitive fitness of faster-acting genetically modified viruses
Evolutionary Applications 2 (2), 209-221
Abstract: Faster-acting recombinant baculoviruses have shown potential for improved suppression of insect pests, but their ecological impact on target and nontarget hosts and naturally occurring pathogens needs to be assessed. Previous studies have focused on the fitness of recombinants at the between-hosts level. However, the population structure of the transmission stages will also be decided by within-host selection. Here we have experimentally quantified the within-host competitive fitness of a fast-acting recombinant Autographa californica multicapsid nucleopolyhedrovirus missing the endogenous egt gene (vEGTDEL), by means of direct competition in single- and serial-passage experiments with its parental virus. Quantitative real-time PCR was employed to determine the ratio of these two viruses in passaged mixtures. We found that vEGTDEL had reduced within-host fitness: per passage the ratio of wild type to vEGTDEL was on average enhanced by a factor of 1.53 (single passage) and 1.68 (serial passage). There is also frequency-dependence: the higher the frequency of vEGTDEL, the stronger the selection against it is. Additionally, the virus ratio is a predictor of time to host death and virus yield. Our results show that egt is important to within-host fitness and allow for a more complete assessment of the ecological impact of recombinant baculovirus release.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Mark P. Zwart, Just M. Vlak, Wopke van der Werf, Monique M. van Oers, Jan W.M. van Lent

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
genetical engin./transgenic plants
general biology - morphology - evolution


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.


Autographa californica nucleopolyhedrovirus (entomopathogen)