Relics of ancient infections are abundant in eukaryote genomes, but little is known about how they evolve when they confer a functional benefit on their host. We show here, for the first time, that the virus-like particles shown to protect Venturia canescens eggs against host immunity are derived from a nudivirus genome incorporated by the parasitic wasp into its own genetic material. Nudivirus hijacking was also at the origin of protective particles from braconid wasps. However, we show here that the viral genes produce “liposomes” that wrap and deliver V. canescens virulence proteins, whereas the particles are used as gene transfer agents in braconid wasps. Our findings indicate that virus domestication has occurred repeatedly during parasitic wasp evolution but with different evolutionary trajectories after endogenization, resulting in different virulence molecule delivery strategies.
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