Evolutionary genetics of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza viruses isolated from whooper swans in northern Japan in 2008
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In April and May 2008, highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses subtype H5N1 were isolated from dead or moribund whooper swans in Aomori, Akita and Hokkaido prefectures in northern Japan. To trace the genetic lineage of the isolates, the nucleotide sequences of all eight genes were determined and phylogenetically analyzed. The Japanese strains were nearly identical to chicken viruses isolated in Russia in April 2008 and closely related to viruses isolated from dead wild birds in Hong Kong in 2007–2008. Their HA genes clustered in clade 2.3.2. On the other hand, NA and the other internal genes were closely related to those of clade 2.3.4 viruses (genotype V) whose NP genes originated from an HA clade 2.3.2 virus. In conclusion, the H5N1 viruses isolated in Japan, Russia and Hong Kong were derived from a common ancestor virus belonging to genotype V that was generated from genetic reassortment events between viruses of HA clades 2.3.2 and 2.3.4.
KeywordsInfluenza A virus H5N1 subtype Whooper swan Reassortant viruses
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