Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genomes Of More Than 200 Human Flu Strains Reveal A Dynamic Virus

Date:
October 6, 2005
Source:
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Summary:
In the first large-scale effort of its kind, researchers have determined the full genetic sequence of more than 200 distinct strains of human influenza virus. The information, being made available in a publicly accessible database, is expected to help scientists better understand how flu viruses evolve, spread and cause disease. The genomic data already has enabled scientists to determine why the 2003-4 annual influenza vaccine did not fully protect individuals against the flu that season.

In the first large-scale effort of its kind, researchers havedetermined the full genetic sequence of more than 200 distinct strainsof human influenza virus. The information, being made available in apublicly accessible database, is expected to help scientists betterunderstand how flu viruses evolve, spread and cause disease. Thegenomic data already has enabled scientists to determine why the 2003-4annual influenza vaccine did not fully protect individuals against theflu that season.

The new genomes are the initial results of the Influenza GenomeSequencing Project, a joint effort of the National Institute of Allergyand Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes ofHealth (NIH), and multiple partners including NIH's National Center forBiotechnology Information (NCBI), the Wadsworth Center of the New YorkState Department of Health in Albany, NY, and The Institute for GenomicResearch (TIGR) in Rockville, MD. The report was published online inthe journal Nature on October 5.

"These new data give us the most comprehensive picture to date of howinfluenza viruses evolve and are transmitted throughout humanpopulations," says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "Thisinformation could help us to make more effective vaccines, therapeuticsand diagnostics against a disease that claims some 36,000 Americanlives each year."

The scientists, led by Elodie Ghedin, Ph.D., of TIGR, and StevenSalzberg, Ph.D., of the University of Maryland, College Park, fullysequenced 209 strains of flu virus, determining the order of more than2.8 million nucleotide bases, the building blocks of DNA. Until now,the researchers note, most of the gene sequence information availableto scientists comprised only relatively short fragments of flu genesthat encode two of the virus' key surface proteins, hemagglutinin (H)and neuraminidase (N). In collaboration with David Lipman, M.D., andcolleagues at NCBI, NIAID will rapidly make this sequence informationpublicly available through GenBank�, an international, searchableonline database.

This was the first large-scale effort to sequence flu strains drawn atrandom from a geographically limited region: most strains came fromsamples submitted over five years to the New York State Department ofHealth. The sequenced strains were not pre-selected for virulence orother characteristics, giving researchers an unbiased view of flu virusevolution as it moved through a varied human population.

Although the viruses were drawn from a relatively small region,the researchers discovered a surprisingly large degree of geneticdiversity in the sequences. They learned, for example, that threegenetically distinct variants of the dominant H3N2 strain appeared overthe study period. In some seasons, these variants circulatedsimultaneously; New York residents were suffering from similar, butdistinct, versions of the virus.

With this new, highly detailed genomic information, the researchersfound out why the 2003-04 flu vaccine provided only partial protectionagainst that season's flu. During the 2002-03 season, distinctlydifferent versions of the H3N2 flu virus underwent genetic mixing. Theresulting strain emerged late in the season and became the predominantcause of flu the following year. However, the 2003-04 vaccine did nottarget the late-emerging version of H3N2 and so the vaccine providedless than optimal protection. In the future, say the researchers, rapidsequencing of flu strain variants could provide information needed tocraft vaccines precisely tailored against the most virulent strains.

"Through the Influenza Genome Sequencing Project, techniques have beenestablished to allow rapid sequencing of full genomes of influenzavirus. This project continues to move toward our goal of revealingcomplete genetic blueprints of thousands of known human and avianinfluenza viruses over the next several years," says Maria Y. Giovanni,Ph.D., who oversees NIAID's flu genome sequencing project.

###

For more information about the Influenza Genome Sequencing Project, visit the project Web site at http://www.niaid.nih.gov/dmid/genomes/mscs/influenza.htm. A press release issued at the launch of the genome project in November, 2004, is available at http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/news/newsreleases/2004/flugenome.htm. More information about the National Center for Biotechnology Information, part of NIH's National Library of Medicine, is at http://www.ncbi.nih.gov/.

NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of Health, an agency ofthe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIAID supports basicand applied research to prevent, diagnose and treat infectious diseasessuch as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, influenza,tuberculosis, malaria and illness from potential agents ofbioterrorism. NIAID also supports research on transplantation andimmune-related illnesses, including autoimmune disorders, asthma andallergies.

Reference: E Ghedin et al. Large-scale sequencing of humaninfluenza reveals the dynamic nature of viral genome evolution. NaturePublished online Oct. 5, 2005. DOI: 10.1038/nature04239.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "Genomes Of More Than 200 Human Flu Strains Reveal A Dynamic Virus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 October 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051006083221.htm>.
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2005, October 6). Genomes Of More Than 200 Human Flu Strains Reveal A Dynamic Virus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051006083221.htm
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "Genomes Of More Than 200 Human Flu Strains Reveal A Dynamic Virus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051006083221.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden laid out new guidelines for health care workers when dealing with the deadly Ebola virus including new precautions when taking off personal protective equipment. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins