Population variation of West Nile virus confers a host-specific fitness benefit in mosquitoes

Kelly A. Fitzpatrick, Eleanor R. Deardorff, Kendra Pesko, Doug E. Brackney, Bo Zhang, Edward Bedrick, Pei Yong Shi, Gregory D. Ebel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


West Nile virus is similar to most other RNA viruses in that it exists in nature as a genetically diverse population. However, the role of this genetic diversity within natural transmission cycles and its importance to virus perpetuation remain poorly understood. Therefore, we determined whether highly genetically diverse populations are more fit compared to less genetically diverse WNV populations. Specifically, we generated three WNV populations that varied in their genetic diversity and evaluated their fitness relative to genetically marked control WNV in vivo in Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes and chickens. Our results demonstrate that high genetic diversity leads to fitness gains in vector mosquitoes, but not chickens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-95
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • Arbovirus
  • Fitness
  • Flavivirus
  • Mosquitoes
  • Quasispecies
  • West Nile virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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