Drosophila P virus was described by Plus & Duthoit (1969) as a small icosahedral virus, 25 nm. in diameter, endemic in many Drosophila populations. In naturally infected strains, this virus has little effect on flies. When injected, however, it causes female sterility and reduces the life span of both sexes by half (David & Plus, 1971). Just before death, injected flies become turgid with liquid, suggesting malfunction of the Malpighian tubules responsible for water exchanges in insects. An electron microscopic study was undertaken in order to characterize the virus and the response of the virus to certain chemicals was observed. The P virus exhibited properties consistent with those of the picornaviruses.

Heterozygous , free from known Drosophila viruses: P (Plus & Duthoit, 1969), σ (L'Héritier, 1970) and Iota (Jousset, 1970), were used as standard flies for injections.


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