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Genetic diversity of the genotype VII Newcastle disease virus: identification of a novel VIIj sub-genotype

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Newcastle disease (ND) is a highly contagious disease of poultry caused by Newcastle disease virus (NDV). Multiple genotypes of NDV have been circulating worldwide and NDV is continuously evolving, resulting into more diversity. Of multiple viral genotypes, VII is particularly important given that it had been associated with most recent ND outbreaks worldwide. In this study, an epidemiological investigation performed in northeastern China during 2014–2015 showed that 11 genotype VII isolates amounted to 55 percent in a total number of NDV isolates. Therefore, to evaluate the genetic diversity worldwide and epidemiological distribution in China of genotype VII NDV, a phylogenetic analysis based on the 1255 complete F gene sequences showed that VII is the most predominant genotype worldwide. A further detailed characterization on genotype VII was conducted based on the 477 complete F gene sequences from 11 isolates and 466 reference viruses available in GenBank. The results demonstrated that VII can be further divided into 8 sub-genotypes (VIIb, VIId–VIIj), indicating its complex genetic diversity. It is worthy of note that the isolation rate of VIIj is increasing recently. It emphasizes the necessity to pay close attention to the epidemiological dynamic of genotype VII NDV and highlights the importance of vaccination program.

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This work was supported by the Special Fund for Agro-scientific Research in the Public Interest (201303033) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31272561, 31472195).

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Correspondence to Chunfeng Wang or Zhuang Ding.

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The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Ethical approval

This study was conducted in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China. The protocols for animal studies were approved by the Committee on the Ethics of Animal Experiments of Jilin University (approval numbers 2015061312-4 for chickens and 2015050123-6 for chicken eggs).

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Edited by Zhen F. Fu.

Cong Xue and Yanlong Cong have contributed equally to this work.

Statement: (i) All the authors have agreed to its submission and are responsible for its contents and (ii) all the authors have agreed that Zhuang Ding may act on their behalf regarding any subsequent processing of the paper.

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Xue, C., Cong, Y., Yin, R. et al. Genetic diversity of the genotype VII Newcastle disease virus: identification of a novel VIIj sub-genotype. Virus Genes 53, 63–70 (2017).

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