Deformed wing virus (DWV; Iflaviridae) is one of many viruses infecting honeybees and one of the most heavily investigated due to its close association with honeybee colony collapse induced by Varroadestructor. In the absence of V.destructor DWV infection does not result in visible symptoms or any apparent negative impact on host fitness. However, for reasons that are still not fully understood, the transmission of DWV by V.destructor to the developing pupae causes clinical symptoms, including pupal death and adult bees emerging with deformed wings, a bloated, shortened abdomen and discolouration. These bees are not viable and die soon after emergence. In this review we will summarize the historical and recent data on DWV and its relatives, covering the genetics, pathobiology, and transmission of this important viral honeybee pathogen, and discuss these within the wider theoretical concepts relating to the genetic variability and population structure of RNA viruses, the evolution of virulence and the development of disease symptoms.
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