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Virologica Sinica, 24 (4) : 305-314, 2009
Research Article
The Parasitoid Factor in the Virulence and Spread of
Lepidopteran Baculoviruses
Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre, 4200 Highway 97, Box 5000 Summerland, BC, V0H 1Z0, Canada
Insect parasitoids and baculoviruses play important roles in the natural and strategic biological control of insects. The two parasites are frequent competitors within common hosts and much research has focused on the negative impact that baculoviral host infections have on parasitoids. This review summarizes the impacts that parasitoids may have on the virulence and spread of lepidopteran baculoviruses. By changing host behavior and development, parasitoids have been shown to decrease baculovirus virulence and productivity within parasitized baculovirus-susceptible hosts; however, studies of the tools used by hymenopteran parasitoids to overcome their hosts’immune systems, suggest that parasitoids may, in some cases, facilitate baculoviral infections in less susceptible hosts. Laboratory and field research have demonstrated that parasitoids can mechanically transmit baculoviruses between insects, and in this way, increase the efficacy of the viruses. Instances of new, more virulent isolates of baculoviruses have been recorded from specifically parasitoid-targeted hosts suggesting other possible benefits from the transmission or activation of baculoviruses by parasitoids.
  Published online: 5 Aug 2009
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