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Genomic Characterisation of a Novel Avipoxvirus Isolated from an Endangered Yellow-Eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes)

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posted on 18.03.2021, 02:35 by Subir Sarker, Athukorala Vidanalage Ajani Priyadarshan Athukorala, TR Bowden, DB Boyle
Emerging viral diseases have become a significant concern due to their potential consequences for animal and environmental health. Over the past few decades, it has become clear that viruses emerging in wildlife may pose a major threat to vulnerable or endangered species. Diphtheritic stomatitis, likely to be caused by an avipoxvirus, has been recognised as a significant cause of mortality for the endangered yellow-eyed penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) in New Zealand. However, the avipoxvirus that infects yellow-eyed penguins has remained uncharacterised. Here, we report the complete genome of a novel avipoxvirus, penguinpox virus 2 (PEPV2), which was derived from a virus isolate obtained from a skin lesion of a yellow-eyed penguin. The PEPV2 genome is 349.8 kbp in length and contains 327 predicted genes; five of these genes were found to be unique, while a further two genes were absent compared to shearwaterpox virus 2 (SWPV2). In comparison with penguinpox virus (PEPV) isolated from an African penguin, there was a lack of conservation within the central region of the genome. Subsequent phylogenetic analyses of the PEPV2 genome positioned it within a distinct subclade comprising the recently isolated avipoxvirus genome sequences from shearwater, canary, and magpie bird species, and demonstrated a high degree of sequence similarity with SWPV2 (96.27%). This is the first reported genome sequence of PEPV2 from a yellow-eyed penguin and will help to track the evolution of avipoxvirus infections in this rare and endangered species.

History

Publication Date

28/01/2021

Journal

Viruses

Volume

13

Issue

2

Pagination

(p. 194-194)

Publisher

MDPI AG

ISSN

1999-4915

Rights Statement

The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.

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