Survey for viral pathogens in two invasive ants, Argentine ant and yellow crazy ant, in Japan
|Chin-Cheng Yang (RISH, Kyoto University)
|Chow-Yang Lee (School of Biological Science, Universiti Sains Malaysia)
Ant invasions are regarded as one of the main drivers of global biodiversity loss, environmental change and thus reduced humanosphere sustainability. In Japan, two of the most ecosystem-devastating invasive ants have been recorded, namely Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) and yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes). Both species have been confirmed to be associated with native biodiversity decline and enormous economic damage in Japan.
While chemical control has been a major control strategy since their initial introductions in Japan, bio-rational approaches such as biological control can represent a new trend for invasive species management. To this end, the proposed research is to identify new virus infecting the two invasive ants using metatranscriptomic approach. Pathogenicity, evolutionary history and potential impacts of the newly discovered viruses on both invasive ants will be subsequently investigated.
The objectives of the current project include 1) perform a large-scale transcriptomic analysis to identify potential viruses infecting the two invasive ants; 2) establish a fast, robust and efficient virus detection pipeline, and survey for the prevalence of target viruses in the known populations of the two invasive ants in Japan; 3) confirm the pathogenicity and potential host impacts (i.e., behavioral change) of the newly discovered viruses. The generated results will serve as baseline data for future development of a practical virus-based biocontrol program on these two invasive ants.
Various scientific fields and technologies have been employed to pursue a higher quality of future humanosphere. This project aims to bring “bio-rational invasive species control” into RISH as a novel research field that not only expands the breadth of RISH mission activities but also assists in developing an effective approach to resolve real-world problems.
Fig. The research design of the current project with three primary objectives. A: generating metatranscriptomic resources; B: survey of viral prevalence at population level; C: test viral pathogenicity and potential impacts on host.