Robert Daniel Pienaar, received the award for the best student oral presentation within the Diseases of Beneficial Invertebrates Division with a presentation entitled: “First evidence of long-lasting associations between viruses and black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens".
Luis Hernandez Pélegrin, was awarded for giving the best student oral presentation within the Virus Division, with his talk “The RNA virome of the medfly: a necessary step to optimize medfly control”.
Here you can read their abstracts:
Abstract: First evidence of long-lasting association between viruses and the Black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens
Robert Pienaar1,2; Clement Gilbert3; Salvador Herrero2; Elisabeth Herniou1
1 Institut de Recherche sur la Biologie de l'Insecte, UMR 7261 CNRS - Université de Tours, 37200 Tours, France; 2 Department of Genetics and University Institute of Biotechnology and Biomedicine (BIOTECMED), Universitat de València 46100–Burjassot (Valencia), Spain; 3 Laboratoire Evolution, Génomes, Comportement, Écologie, Unité Mixte de Recherche 9191 Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Unité Mixte de Recherche 247 Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Université Paris-Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette 91198, France
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Black soldier flies (BSF) are regarded as robust insects for their broad diet and are experiencing fast production growth within the insect as feed and food industry. Some BSF farms experience mortality episodes yet very little is known on BSF pathogens, particularly concerning viruses. As traces of contemporary and past viral infections can be mined in transcriptomics and genomic datasets, we undertook a bioinformatic approach to explore publicly available BSF data. Using Virsorter2, CheckV and BLAST on assembled contigs and scaffolds, we uncovered several viral sequences associated with multiple genomic and transcriptomic datasets. In particular, transcriptomic data led to the genome assembly of an uncharacterized virus, that we refer to as “virus T”. In parallel, the use of a novel pipeline on three BSF genomes collected in different countries allowed the discovery of multiple candidate endogenous viral element (EVE) sequences. Analysis of the EVEs shared by all three BSF genomes revealed that some EVEs had nearly identical sequences, indicating that their integration in the BSF genome is not recent. Of note, a short sequence that is highly similar to one group of these EVEs was found to be expressed in BSF, suggesting possible antiviral activity. Lastly, sequence comparison revealed that these EVEs are related to, but different from virus T. Altogether, the results suggest that virus T is an exogenous virus producing an active infection, and that related viruses have long been associated with BSFs.
Abstract: The RNA virome of the medfly: a necessary step to optimize medfly control