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Viruses  2011 

Recombination in Avian Gamma-Coronavirus Infectious Bronchitis Virus

DOI: 10.3390/v3091777

Keywords: gamma coronavirus, avian coronavirus, infectious bronchitis virus, genome, recombination

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Abstract:

Recombination in the family Coronaviridae has been well documented and is thought to be a contributing factor in the emergence and evolution of different coronaviral genotypes as well as different species of coronavirus. However, there are limited data available on the frequency and extent of recombination in coronaviruses in nature and particularly for the avian gamma-coronaviruses where only recently the emergence of a turkey coronavirus has been attributed solely to recombination. In this study, the full-length genomes of eight avian gamma-coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) isolates were sequenced and along with other full-length IBV genomes available from GenBank were analyzed for recombination. Evidence of recombination was found in every sequence analyzed and was distributed throughout the entire genome. Areas that have the highest occurrence of recombination are located in regions of the genome that code for nonstructural proteins 2, 3 and 16, and the structural spike glycoprotein. The extent of the recombination observed, suggests that this may be one of the principal mechanisms for generating genetic and antigenic diversity within IBV. These data indicate that reticulate evolutionary change due to recombination in IBV, likely plays a major role in the origin and adaptation of the virus leading to new genetic types and strains of the virus.

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