Genetic Structure of Avian Influenza Viruses from Ducks of the Atlantic Flyway of North America

Huang, Yanyan and Wille, Michelle and Dobbin, Ashley and Walzthöni, Natasha M. and Robertson, Gregory J. and Ojkic, Davor and Whitney, Hugh and Land, Andrew S. (2014) Genetic Structure of Avian Influenza Viruses from Ducks of the Atlantic Flyway of North America. PLoS ONE, 9 (1). ISSN 1932-6203

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Wild birds, including waterfowl such as ducks, are reservoir hosts of influenza A viruses. Despite the increased number of avian influenza virus (AIV) genome sequences available, our understanding of AIV genetic structure and transmission through space and time in waterfowl in North America is still limited. In particular, AIVs in ducks of the Atlantic flyway of North America have not been thoroughly investigated. To begin to address this gap, we analyzed 109 AIV genome sequences from ducks in the Atlantic flyway to determine their genetic structure and to document the extent of gene flow in the context of sequences from other locations and other avian and mammalian host groups. The analyses included 25 AIVs from ducks from Newfoundland, Canada, from 2008–2011 and 84 available reference duck AIVs from the Atlantic flyway from 2006–2011. A vast diversity of viral genes and genomes was identified in the 109 viruses. The genetic structure differed amongst the 8 viral segments with predominant single lineages found for the PB2, PB1 and M segments, increased diversity found for the PA, NP and NS segments (2, 3 and 3 lineages, respectively), and the highest diversity found for the HA and NA segments (12 and 9 lineages, respectively). Identification of inter-hemispheric transmissions was rare with only 2% of the genes of Eurasian origin. Virus transmission between ducks and other bird groups was investigated, with 57.3% of the genes having highly similar (≥99% nucleotide identity) genes detected in birds other than ducks. Transmission between North American flyways has been frequent and 75.8% of the genes were highly similar to genes found in other North American flyways. However, the duck AIV genes did display spatial distribution bias, which was demonstrated by the different population sizes of specific viral genes in one or two neighbouring flyways compared to more distant flyways.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 6305
Additional Information: Memorial University Open Access Author's Fund
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Biology
Date: 30 January 2014
Date Type: Publication
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