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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 93:1-15 (2010)  -  DOI:

Molecular characterisation of Australasian isolates of aquatic birnaviruses

Kelly R. Davies, Kenneth A. McColl*, Lin-Fa Wang, Meng Yu, Lynette M. Williams,  Mark St. J. Crane

CSIRO Livestock Industries, Australian Animal Health Laboratory, Private Bag 24, Geelong, Victoria 3220, Australia
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: An aquatic birnavirus, first isolated in Australia from farmed Atlantic salmon in Tasmania in 1998, has continued to be re-isolated on an infrequent but regular basis. Due to its low pathogenicity, there has been little urgency to undertake a comprehensive characterisation of this aquatic birnavirus. However, faced with possible incursions of any new aquatic birnaviruses, specific identification and differentiation of this virus from other, pathogenic, aquatic birnaviruses such as infectious pancreatic necrosis virus (IPNV) are becoming increasingly important. The present study determined the nucleic acid sequence of the aquatic birnavirus originally isolated in 1998, as well as a subsequent isolate from 2002. The sequences of the VP2 and VP5 genes were compared to that of other aquatic birnaviruses, including non-pathogenic aquatic birnavirus isolates from New Zealand and pathogenic infectious pancreatic necrosis virus isolates from North America and Europe. The deduced amino acid (aa) sequences indicate that the Australian and New Zealand isolates fall within Genogroup 5 together with IPNV strains Sp, DPL, Fr10 and N1. Thus, Genogroup 5 appears to contain aquatic birnavirus isolates from quite diverse host and geographical ranges. Using the sequence information derived from this study, a simple diagnostic test has been developed that differentiates the current Australian isolates from all other aquatic birnaviruses, including the closely related isolates from New Zealand.

KEY WORDS: Aquatic birnavirus · Infectious pancreatic necrosis virus · Phylogenetic relationships

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Cite this article as: Davies KR, McColl KA, Wang LF, Yu M, Williams LM, Crane MSJ (2010) Molecular characterisation of Australasian isolates of aquatic birnaviruses. Dis Aquat Org 93:1-15.

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