“The results of the research we have carried out on the genome of viruses, specifically on nucleopolyhedroviruses (NPVs; Baculoviridae) will help to understand how genetic systems evolve. This discovery is of great importance when we take into account that NPVs have shown to have great insecticide potential for the control of agricultural and forestry plagues, above all for the cultivation of maize in countries such as Mexico and Honduras”. This is one of the conclusions of the PhD thesis “Functional importance of genotypic and phenotypic diversity in a Spodoptera frugiperda multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus population” that researcher Oihane Simón De Goñi recently defended at the Public University of Navarre.
How the virus affects the plague
The nucleopolyhedrovirus (NPVs; Baculoviridae) have shown to have great insecticide potential for the control of agricultural and forestry plagues. It involves an infectious virus for insects that cause plagues, the size of which is 2 to 3 micras and which can be found, according to Ms Simón de Goñi, “contaminating a plant leaf which the insect feeds off. This virus is composed of a protein that includes the infectious viruses, known as virions. The larva, on eating the contaminated leaf, ingests the virus which, when it arrives at the digestive tract of the insect, it dissolves the protein surrounding the virions and these are released. Then the virions unite with the epithelial cells and enter the nuclei thereof where they multiply to produce new virions which then infect the cells of other internal tissues of the insect’s body. Thus, the infected cells burst (lysis) and, finally, the whole insect becomes a pool of liquid in a matter of 3 or 4 days, releasing thousands of millions of viral particles that contaminate other leaves to commence a new cycle. This is the useful insecticide action of this virus”.
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