Genomic Characterisation of a Novel Avipoxvirus Isolated from an Endangered Northern Royal Albatross (Diomedea sanfordi)
journal contributionposted on 20.05.2021, 01:10 authored by Subir SarkerSubir Sarker, Ajani Athukorala, Tadiwa Nyandowe, Timothy R Bowden, David B Boyle
Marine bird populations have been declining globally with the factors driving this decline not fully understood. Viral diseases, including those caused by poxviruses, are a concern for endangered seabird species. In this study we have characterised a novel avipoxvirus, tentatively designated albatrosspox virus (ALPV), isolated from a skin lesion of an endangered New Zealand northern royal albatross (Diomedea sanfordi). The ALPV genome was 351.9 kbp in length and contained 336 predicted genes, seven of which were determined to be unique. The highest number of genes (313) in the ALPV genome were homologs of those in shearwaterpox virus 2 (SWPV2), while a further 10 were homologs to canarypox virus (CNPV) and an additional six to shearwaterpox virus 1 (SWPV1). Phylogenetic analyses positioned the ALPV genome within a distinct subclade comprising recently isolated avipoxvirus genome sequences from shearwater, penguin and passerine bird species. This is the first reported genome sequence of ALPV from a northern royal albatross and will help to track the evolution of avipoxvirus infections in this endangered species.