Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How lethal bird flu viruses evolved

Date:
September 19, 2013
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
An in-depth evolutionary analysis of whole-genome sequences of different types of avian flu viruses has revealed that new H7N9 viruses emerged from distinct H9N2 viruses in a two-step process, first occurring in wild birds and then continuing in domestic birds.

Deadly H7N9 avian flu viruses infected people for the first time earlier this year in China, but little is known about how they evolved to become harmful to humans. In a study published by Cell Press on September 19 in Cell Host & Microbe, an in-depth evolutionary analysis of whole-genome sequences of different types of avian flu viruses has revealed that new H7N9 viruses emerged from distinct H9N2 viruses in a two-step process, first occurring in wild birds and then continuing in domestic birds.

"A deep understanding of how the novel H7N9 viruses were generated is of critical importance for formulating proper measures for surveillance and control of these viruses and other potential emerging influenza viruses," says senior study author Taijiao Jiang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

First detected in people in late March, H7N9 viruses have resulted in more than 130 human infections and at least 44 deaths. Most of these infections occurred after exposure to infected poultry or contaminated environments rather than person-to-person contact, but these viruses could evolve to become more readily transmissible among humans. This possible threat highlights the importance of understanding the evolutionary history of H7N9 viruses for developing appropriate strategies to monitor and control outbreaks.

To address this problem, Jiang teamed up with Daxin Peng of Yangzhou University and their collaborators to analyze whole-genome sequences of avian flu viruses from humans, poultry, and wild birds from China. They discovered that H7N9 viruses are genetically diverse, suggesting that complex genetic events were involved in their evolution.

Their analysis revealed that the new H7N9 viruses emerged through a two-step process involving the exchange of genetic material between distinct viruses. In the first step, which took place in wild birds, genetic material from H9N2 viruses and unspecified H7 and N9 viruses was mixed to create precursor H7N9 viruses. The second step, which occurred in domestic birds in eastern China early last year, involved the exchange of genetic material between the precursor H7N9 viruses and other H9N2 viruses to create new, genetically diverse H7N9 viruses.

"Our work not only re-enforces the important role of wild birds in the emergence of novel influenza viruses but also highlights the necessity of integrating data from infections in humans, poultry, and wild birds for effective influenza surveillance," Jiang says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Aiping Wu, Chunhu Su, Dayan Wang, Yousong Peng, Mi Liu, Sha Hua, Tianxian Li, GeorgeF. Gao, Hong Tang, Jianzhu Chen, Xiufan Liu, Yuelong Shu, Daxin Peng, Taijiao Jiang. Sequential Reassortments Underlie Diverse Influenza H7N9 Genotypes in China. Cell Host & Microbe, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2013.09.001

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "How lethal bird flu viruses evolved." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130919122254.htm>.
Cell Press. (2013, September 19). How lethal bird flu viruses evolved. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130919122254.htm
Cell Press. "How lethal bird flu viruses evolved." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130919122254.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
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