1.Laboratorio de Entomologí a Agrí cola y Patologí a de Insectos, Departamento de Producció n Agraria, Universidad Pú blica de Navarra, 31006 Pamplona, Spain 2. Instituto de Agrobiotecnologí a, CSIC, Gobierno de Navarra, Mutilva Baja, Spain 3. Instituto de Ecologí a A.C., Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico 4. Laboratoire de Gè nie de l&rsquo Environnement Industriel, Ecole de Mines d&rsquo Alè s, Alè s, France
An isolate of the Spodoptera frugiperda multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus comprises a stable proportion of deletion genotypes (e.g., SfNIC-C), that lack pif1 and pif2 rendering them noninfectious per os, and that survive by complementation with a complete genotype (SfNIC-B) in coinfected cells. To determine whether selection for particular ratios of complete and deletion genotypes occurs mainly during the establishment of the primary infection in insect midgut cells or during subsequent systemic infection, we examined genotype frequencies in insects that fed on OBs comprising different co-occluded mixtures of genotypes. Dramatic changes in genotype frequencies were observed between the OB inoculum and budded virus (BV) samples taken from larvae inoculated with OBs comprising 10% SfNIC-B + 90% SfNIC-C indicating that a marked reduction of SfNIC-C genotype had occurred in the insect midgut due to the immediate elimination of all OBs that originated from cells that had been infected only by SfNIC-C. In contrast, immediate changes were not observed in OBs comprising mixtures of 50% SfNIC-B + 50% SfNIC-C or those comprising 10% SfNIC-B + 90% SfNIC-C as most of the OBs in these mixtures originated from cells that had been infected by both genotypes. Subsequent changes in genotypic frequencies during five days of systemic infection were fairly small in magnitude for all genotypic mixtures. We conclude that the prevalence of defective genotypes in the SfNIC population is likely determined by a balance between host selection against OBs produced in cells infected by SfNIC-C alone and within-host selection for fast-replicating deletion genotypes. The strength of intra-host selection is likely modulated by changes in MOI during the infection period.