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A comparative genomic and evolutionary analysis of circulating strains of Avian avulavirus 1 in Pakistan

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/10/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Molecular Genetics and Genomics
Issue number5
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)1289–1309
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date30/05/19
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Newcastle disease, caused by Avian avulavirus 1 (AAvV 1), is endemic to many developing countries around the globe including Pakistan. Frequent epidemics are not uncommon even in vaccinated populations and are largely attributed to the genetic divergence of prevailing isolates and their transmission in the environment. With the strengthening of laboratory capabilities in Pakistan, a number of genetically diverse AAvV 1 strains have recently been isolated and individually characterized in comparison with isolates reported elsewhere in the world. However, there lacks sufficient comparative genomic and phylogenomic analyses of field circulating strains that can elucidate the evolutionary dynamics over a period of time. Herein, we enriched the whole genome sequences of AAvV reported so far (n = 35) from Pakistan and performed comparative genomic, phylogenetic and evolutionary analyses. Based on these analyses, we found only isolates belonging to genotypes VI, VII and XIII of AAvV 1 in a wide range of avian and human hosts. Comparative phylogeny revealed the concurrent circulation of avulaviruses representing different sub-genotypes such as VIg, VIm, VIIa, VIIb, VIIe, VIIf, VIIi, XIIIb and XIIId. We found that the isolates of genotype VII were more closely associated with viruses of genotype XIII than genotype VI. An inter-genotype comparative residue analysis revealed a few substitutions in structurally and functionally important motifs. Putative recombination events were reported for only one of the captive-wild bird (pheasant)-origin isolates. The viruses of genotype VII had a high genetic diversity as compared to isolates from genotypes VI and XIII and, therefore, have more potential to evolve over a period of time. Taken together, the current study provides an insight into the genetic diversity and evolutionary dynamics of AAvV 1 strains circulating in Pakistan. Such findings are expected to facilitate better intervention strategies for the prevention and control of ND in disease-endemic countries across the globe particularly Pakistan.

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The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00438-019-01580-w