Virus Genes

, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 123–126 | Cite as

Misinterpretation of Schmallenberg virus sequence variations: the sample material makes the difference

  • Kerstin WernikeEmail author
  • Martin Beer


In recent reports about the molecular epidemiology of Schmallenberg virus (SBV), an orthobunyavirus affecting ruminants, it was proposed that the observed sequence variability within the viral M-segment might be higher in sheep than in cattle. However, these analyses are highly biased by the sample material from which the publicly available sequences were generated. While from cattle predominantly blood samples from acutely infected animals were studied, the vast majority of ovine samples originate from malformed fetuses or newborn lambs. Therefore, the observed sequence variability is misinterpreted since the samples from malformed fetuses and lambs do not reflect circulating SBV.


Phylogenetic analysis Mutation Host Malformation 



This work did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Diagnostic VirologyFriedrich-Loeffler-InstitutGreifswald - Insel RiemsGermany

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