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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI:

    Nanopore whole genome sequencing and partitioned phylogenetic analysis supports a new salmonid alphavirus genotype (SAV7)

    Andrew J. Tighe*, Michael D. Gallagher, Jens Carlsson, Iveta Matejusova, Fiona Swords, Daniel J. Macqueen, Neil M. Ruane

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Salmon pancreas disease virus, more commonly known as salmonid alphavirus (SAV), is a single stranded positive sense RNA virus and the causative agent of pancreas disease and sleeping disease in salmonids. In this study, a unique strain of SAV previously isolated from ballan wrasse was subjected to whole genome sequencing using nanopore sequencing. In order to accurately examine this strain’s evolutionary history in comparison to other SAV strains, a partitioned phylogenetic analysis was performed to account for variation in the rate of evolution for both individual genes and codon positions. Partitioning the genome alignments almost doubled the observed branch lengths in the phylogenetic tree when compared to the more common approach of applying one model of substitution across the genome and significantly increased the statistical fit of the best-fitting models of nucleotide substitution. Based on the genomic data, a valid case can be made for the viral strain examined in this study to be considered a new SAV genotype. In addition, this study adds to a growing number of studies in which SAV has been found to infect non-salmonid fish, and as such we have suggested that the viral species name be amended to the more inclusive piscine alphavirus.