Archives of Virology

, Volume 156, Issue 1, pp 107–115 | Cite as

Reassortment of American and Eurasian genes in an influenza A virus isolated from a great black-backed gull (Larus marinus), a species demonstrated to move between these regions

  • Michelle Wille
  • Gregory J. Robertson
  • Hugh Whitney
  • Davor Ojkic
  • Andrew S. Lang
Original Article


The primary hosts for influenza A viruses are waterfowl, although gulls and shorebirds are also important in global avian influenza dynamics. Avian influenza virus genes are separated phylogenetically into two geographic clades, American and Eurasian, which is caused by the geographic separation of the host species between these two regions. We surveyed a gregarious and cosmopolitan species, the Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus), in Newfoundland, Canada, for the presence of avian influenza viruses. We have isolated and determined the complete genome sequence of an H13N2 virus, A/Great Black-backed Gull/Newfoundland/296/2008(H13N2), from one of these birds. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that this virus contained two genes in the American gull clade (PB1, HA), two genes in the American avian clade (PA, NA), and four genes in the Eurasian gull clade (PB2, NP, M, NS). We analyzed bird band recovery information and found the first evidence of trans-Atlantic migration from Newfoundland to Europe (UK, Spain and Portugal) for this species. Thus, great black-backed gulls could be important for movement of avian influenza viruses across the Atlantic Ocean and within North America.


Influenza Avian Influenza Avian Influenza Virus Reassortment Event Viral Transport Medium 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank P. Ryan, A. Granter, C. Keane and A. Blundon for assistance with sample collection and processing, the Environment Canada Banding Office and C. du Feu from EURING for assistance with bird banding and band recovery data, and G. Humphries for assistance with GIS-based data visualization. Support for this work was received from the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Natural Resources and the Strategic Applications of Genomics in the Environment (STAGE) program at Environment Canada. MW was supported by a CGS-M fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and a merit fellowship from Memorial University. Research in ASL’s lab is supported by grants from NSERC, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the Industrial Research and Innovation Fund from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Supplementary material

705_2010_839_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (91 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 91 kb)
705_2010_839_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (150 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 150 kb)
705_2010_839_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (535 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (PDF 535 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle Wille
    • 1
  • Gregory J. Robertson
    • 2
  • Hugh Whitney
    • 3
  • Davor Ojkic
    • 4
  • Andrew S. Lang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada
  2. 2.Wildlife Research DivisionEnvironment CanadaMount PearlCanada
  3. 3.Animal Health DivisionNewfoundland and Labrador Department of Natural ResourcesSt. John’sCanada
  4. 4.Animal Health LaboratoryUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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