Identification of diverse viruses associated with grasshoppers unveils phylogenetic congruence between hosts and viruses (4 tweets)

Locusts and grasshoppers are one of the most dangerous agricultural pests. Environmentally benign microbial pesticides are increasingly desirable for controlling locust outbreaks in fragile ecosystems. Here we use metagenomic sequencing to profile the rich viral communities in 34 grasshopper species and report 322 viruses, including 202 novel species. Most of the identified viruses are related to other insect viruses and some are targeted by antiviral RNAi pathway, indicating they infect grasshoppers. Some plant/fungi/vertebrate associated viruses are also abundant in our samples. Our analysis of relationships between host and virus phylogenies suggests that the composition of viromes is closely allied with host evolution, and there is significant phylogenetic relatedness between grasshoppers and viruses from Lispiviridae, Partitiviridae, Orthomyxoviridae, Virgaviridae and Flaviviridae. Overall, this study is a thorough exploration of viruses in grasshoppers and provide an essential evolutionary and ecological context for host-virus interaction in Acridoidea.

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