Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The extraordinary evolution of reticuloendotheliosis viruses

Date:
August 27, 2013
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
A new study reveals that reticuloendotheliosis viruses, which originated in mammals, spread to birds as a result of medical intervention.

A new study by Anna Maria Niewiadomska and Robert Gifford, of The Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, New York, reveals that reticuloendotheliosis viruses (REVs), which originated in mammals, spread to birds as a result of medical intervention. Their findings will be published August 27 in the open access journal PLOS Biology.

"We became intrigued by these viruses," says Gifford, "…because their distribution in nature suggests something very unusual has occurred during their evolution."

The reticuloendotheliosis viruses (REVs) are retroviruses that were first identified in the 1950s as agents of virulent disease in poultry. DNA sequences derived from REVs are also present in the genomes of other, unrelated viruses that infect birds, including the gallid herpesvirus-2 (GHV-2) and fowlpox virus (FWPV), an avian cousin of the smallpox virus.

Gifford's research focuses on 'endogenous viral elements' (EVEs) -- snippets of viral DNA that can be found in the genomes of more complex cellular organisms -they are akin to 'fossil' evidence that a viral genome integrated into a host genome at some point in the host's evolutionary history. This study was prompted when Niewiadomska discovered ancestors of REV among these 'fossilized' viral sequences. These sequences, which were identified in the echidna and ring-tailed mongoose genomes, allowed the scientists to link the REVs that circulate in birds today to a viral infection that occurred in mammals over 8 million years ago.

Next, by combining genetic information with spatiotemporal and historical data, the authors have come up with an attractive proposal for how REVS spread into birds. Their findings suggest that REVs spread into birds very recently, during experimental studies of Plasmodium lophurae -- a malaria parasite that was isolated in the late 1930s from a pheasant housed in Bronx Zoo. By contaminating stocks of this parasite, the rogue retrovirus may have spread into poultry and subsequently into avian cell culture systems, inserting its genetic material into the GHV-2 and FWPV genomes along the way. The authors surmise that these larger viruses, and possibly the vaccines created against them, subsequently provided vehicles for the further dissemination of REV into the environment. Data presented in the study indicate this process is on-going, and impacts wild birds as well as domestic poultry.

Besides shedding light on the origin and evolution of REV, the study draws attention to the unintentional role that medical interventions can play in enabling the emergence of viruses, and a need to monitor viral genetic diversity. "Unfortunately, the law of unintended consequences applies in the realm of infectious disease research," says Gifford. "While we can't escape that fact, we can use modern sequencing technologies to survey viral genetic diversity, so that changes in the ecology and evolution of important viral pathogens can be monitored and responded to more effectively. Our analysis of REV illustrates how such an approach might work."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anna Maria Niewiadomska, Robert J. Gifford. The Extraordinary Evolutionary History of the Reticuloendotheliosis Viruses. PLoS Biology, 2013; 11 (8): e1001642 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001642

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "The extraordinary evolution of reticuloendotheliosis viruses." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130827204335.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2013, August 27). The extraordinary evolution of reticuloendotheliosis viruses. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130827204335.htm
Public Library of Science. "The extraordinary evolution of reticuloendotheliosis viruses." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130827204335.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) 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:
from the past week

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