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Genome of Symbiotic Polydnavirus Reveals Its Function as Biological Weapon

NEW YORK, Oct. 11 (GenomeWeb News) - French researchers have analyzed the genome sequence of a polydnavirus, a symbiotic virus that lives inside of parasitic wasps and serves them as a biological weapon.

 

The scientists, from CNRS in Toursand Genoscope in Every, published their findings in last week's Science. They sequenced the 600,000 bp genome of bracovirus, which lives in a parasitic wasp species. The wasp injects the virus into butterfly larvae along with its eggs. The virus then helps the wasp eggs develop by shutting down the larvae's immune defense.

 

The bracovirus genome, the scientists found, has a complex organization that resembles a eukaryote genomic region more than a viral genome. Its virulence genes, coding for truncated versions of cellular proteins, have been duplicated.

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