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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Viruses as Biocontrol Agents
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1 - Virus Potential
2 - New Virus
Virus Potential

Viruses may be used in the biocontrol of fire antsThe list of currently known natural enemies of fire ants does not include a single virus. However, like any other biological entity, numerous viruses, with varying levels of virulence, probably affect fire ants. Our search for fire ant viruses that can be used in biological control programs involves the identification of viral genomic expression in fire ant populations. This initial step can lead to the discovery of both pathogenic and benign viruses that can be easily spread in the fire ant population. Pathogenic viruses can be used directly in biological control programs. Benign viruses can be genetically modified to express detrimental proteins and other products in infected fire ant hosts. Both approaches are potentially important weapons in future control of fire ants.

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Last Modified: 5/10/2006
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