Virus discovery in monogynous and polygynous ant societies
1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Biology
|Online Access:||PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.9 MB)|
|Persistent link:|| http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:oulu-202307222886
Oulu : M. Chy,
|Publish Date:|| 2023-08-01
|Thesis type:||Master's thesis
Viruslöytö yksi- ja polygyniinimuurahaisissa yhteisöissä
The interaction between host and pathogen is an intricate dance of survival, a constant tug-of-war in the evolutionary race. This relationship is not merely an act of invasion and defense but a complex dynamic process that shapes the natural world. The research focused on ant colonies, illuminating the complex relationship between ants and viruses. Theoretically, polygynous colonies, with their greater size and genetic diversity due to multiple queens, are better equipped to handle environmental fluctuations and disease. This study hypothesized that mature monogynous colonies, owing to their smaller size and the rigorous selection processes during colony establishment, which they have successfully endured, are likely exhibit a significantly lower viral diversity compared to polygynous colonies. To test this, RNA and small RNA were extracted from nine ant species — five monogynous and four polygynous. Data analysis unveiled a spectrum of 100 viruses, including 33 novel and 57 unknown entities. The results challenged initial expectations, with no statistically significant difference in virus diversity, viral load, and active infection between monogynous and polygynous colonies. Interestingly, monogynous colonies demonstrated a trend towards higher virus abundance and active infections. Furthermore, the research unveiled a geographical clustering (measured by total number of viruses per population). Moreover, a statistically significance relationship was identified between the virus abundance and active infections, as determined by RNAseq and small-RNAseq RPKM values. The findings of this study may suggest that polygynous species are better equipped for preventing the widespread transmission of infections within their colonies, in comparison to their monogynous counterparts. This research illuminate’s virus-host dynamics within social insects, enhancing knowledge on viral diversity in ants, and implying potential impacts on evolutionary biology, ecology, disease control, and biosecurity.
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