University of Oulu

Viljakainen, L., Borshagovski, A., Saarenpää, S. et al. Identification and characterisation of common glow-worm RNA viruses. Virus Genes 56, 236–248 (2020).

Identification and characterisation of common glow-worm RNA viruses

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Author: Viljakainen, Lumi1; Borshagovski, Anna‑Maria1; Saarenpää, Sami1;
Organizations: 1Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu, Pentti Kaiteran katu 1, 90014, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-04-01


The common glow-worms (Lampyris noctiluca) are best known for emission of green light by their larvae and sexually active adult females. However, both their DNA and RNA viruses remain unknown. Glow-worms are virologically interesting, as they are non-social and do not feed as adults, and hence their viral transmission may be limited. We identified viral sequences from 11 different virus taxa by the RNA-sequencing of two Finnish populations of adult glow-worms. The viruses represent nine different virus families and have negative, positive, or double-stranded RNA genomes. We also found a complete retroviral genome. Similar viral sequences were found from the sequencing data of common eastern firefly of North America, a species belonging to the same family (Lampyridae) as that of the common glow-worm. On average, an individual glow-worm had seven different RNA virus types and most of them appeared to establish a stable infection since they were found from glow-worms during two consecutive years. Here we present the characterization of load, prevalence, and interactions for each virus. Most of the glow-worm RNA viruses seem to be transmitted vertically, which may reflect the biology of glow-worms as non-social capital breeders, i.e., they invest stored resources in reproduction.

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Series: Virus genes
ISSN: 0920-8569
ISSN-E: 1572-994X
ISSN-L: 0920-8569
Volume: 56
Pages: 236 - 248
DOI: 10.1007/s11262-019-01724-5
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: Open access funding provided by University of Oulu including Oulu University Hospital. This research was funded by the Academy of Finland Grants (No. 260147 to LV and No. 294664 to AK and AMB) and Kone Foundation to JJ.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 294664
Detailed Information: 294664 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2020 The Author(s). Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit