Characterization of a Novel Bumble Bee Virus
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Bee species around the world are experiencing increasing mortality rates, causing concern over the ecological impact their decline will have on the environment. While the primary focus of bee viruses research has been on North American honey bee (Apis mellifera) viruses, native bee pathogens are also responsible for increased bee mortality. Our research focused on characterizing the viruses that infect these understudied native populations. In our study, we characterized the diversity of viruses infecting bees of two distinct North American regions, Colorado and New Jersey. From our results, we observed 25 viruses that infect 12 bee species. We were also able to identify and characterize one novel virus that infects five bee species, including honey bees (Apis mellifera). We found that this novel virus is most likely a member of the newly described Negevirus family, and is closely related to another recently reported bee virus infecting Negevirus found in Belgium. We found that the novel virus is widely distributed, infecting both Colorado and New Jersey individuals. The results of our study show that the novel virus can infect multiple host species, and confirm that native bee pathogens should be taken into account to fully understand the total amount of viruses capable of infecting Apis and non Apis species.