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Evolutionary History and Attenuation of Myxoma Virus on Two Continents

Kerr, PJ and Ghedin, E and DePasse, JV and Fitch, A and Cattadori, IM and Hudson, PJ and Tscharke, DC and Read, AF and Holmes, EC (2012) Evolutionary History and Attenuation of Myxoma Virus on Two Continents. PLoS Pathogens, 8 (10). ISSN 1553-7366

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The attenuation of myxoma virus (MYXV) following its introduction as a biological control into the European rabbit populations of Australia and Europe is the canonical study of the evolution of virulence. However, the evolutionary genetics of this profound change in host-pathogen relationship is unknown. We describe the genome-scale evolution of MYXV covering a range of virulence grades sampled over 49 years from the parallel Australian and European epidemics, including the high-virulence progenitor strains released in the early 1950s. MYXV evolved rapidly over the sampling period, exhibiting one of the highest nucleotide substitution rates ever reported for a double-stranded DNA virus, and indicative of a relatively high mutation rate and/or a continually changing selective environment. Our comparative sequence data reveal that changes in virulence involved multiple genes, likely losses of gene function due to insertion-deletion events, and no mutations common to specific virulence grades. Hence, despite the similarity in selection pressures there are multiple genetic routes to attain either highly virulent or attenuated phenotypes in MYXV, resulting in convergence for phenotype but not genotype. © 2012 Kerr et al.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kerr, PJ
Ghedin, Eelg21@pitt.eduELG21
DePasse, JV
Fitch, Afitchad@pitt.eduFITCHAD
Cattadori, IM
Hudson, PJ
Tscharke, DC
Read, AF
Holmes, EC
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Date: 1 October 2012
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: PLoS Pathogens
Volume: 8
Number: 10
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002950
Schools and Programs: School of Medicine > Computational and Systems Biology
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1553-7366
Other ID: NLM PMC3464225
PubMed Central ID: PMC3464225
PubMed ID: 23055928
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2012 19:03
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 16:57


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