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Characterisation of the viral community associated with the Alfalfa Weevil (Hypera postica) and its host plant, Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)

François S., Antoine-Lorquin A., Kulikowski M., Frayssinet M., Filloux D., Fernandez E., Roumagnac P., Froissart R., Ogliastro M.. 2021. Viruses, 13 (5) : 17 p..

DOI: 10.3390/v13050791

Advances in viral metagenomics have paved the way of virus discovery by making the exploration of viruses in any ecosystem possible. Applied to agroecosystems, such an approach opens new possibilities to explore how viruses circulate between insects and plants, which may help to optimise their management. It could also lead to identifying novel entomopathogenic viral resources potentially suitable for biocontrol strategies. We sampled the larvae of a natural population of alfalfa weevils (Hypera postica), a major herbivorous pest feeding on legumes, and its host plant alfalfa (Medicago sativa). Insect and plant samples were collected from a crop field and an adjacent meadow. We characterised the diversity and abundance of viruses associated with weevils and alfalfa, and described nine putative new virus species, including four associated with alfalfa and five with weevils. In addition, we found that trophic accumulation may result in a higher diversity of plant viruses in phytophagous pests compared to host plants.

Mots-clés : lutte biologique; ravageur des plantes; lutte biologique contre les ravageurs; hypera postica; medicago sativa; virus des insectes; relation plante animal; gestion intégrée des ravageurs; france; métagénomique

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