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Open AccessArticle

Discovery and Characterization of Novel RNA Viruses in Aquatic North American Wild Birds

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Department of Biology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 232 Elizabeth Ave., St. John’s, NL A1B 3X9, Canada
2
Animal Health Laboratory, Laboratory Services Division, University of Guelph, 419 Gordon St., Guelph, ON N1H 6R8, Canada
3
Wildlife Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, 6 Bruce Street, Mount Pearl, NL A1N 4T3, Canada
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2019, 11(9), 768; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11090768
Received: 15 July 2019 / Revised: 16 August 2019 / Accepted: 18 August 2019 / Published: 21 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Viruses)
Wild birds are recognized viral reservoirs but our understanding about avian viral diversity is limited. We describe here three novel RNA viruses that we identified in oropharyngeal/cloacal swabs collected from wild birds. The complete genome of a novel gull metapneumovirus (GuMPV B29) was determined. Phylogenetic analyses indicated that this virus could represent a novel avian metapneumovirus (AMPV) sub-group, intermediate between AMPV-C and the subgroup of the other AMPVs. This virus was detected in an American herring (1/24, 4.2%) and great black-backed (4/26, 15.4%) gulls. A novel gull coronavirus (GuCoV B29) was detected in great black-backed (3/26, 11.5%) and American herring (2/24, 8.3%) gulls. Phylogenetic analyses of GuCoV B29 suggested that this virus could represent a novel species within the genus Gammacoronavirus, close to other recently identified potential novel avian coronaviral species. One GuMPV–GuCoV co-infection was detected. A novel duck calicivirus (DuCV-2 B6) was identified in mallards (2/5, 40%) and American black ducks (7/26, 26.9%). This virus, of which we identified two different types, was fully sequenced and was genetically closest to other caliciviruses identified in Anatidae, but more distant to other caliciviruses from birds in the genus Anas. These discoveries increase our knowledge about avian virus diversity and host distributions. View Full-Text
Keywords: avian viruses; metapneumovirus; coronavirus; calicivirus; virus discovery; novel viruses; viral epidemiology avian viruses; metapneumovirus; coronavirus; calicivirus; virus discovery; novel viruses; viral epidemiology
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Canuti, M.; Kroyer, A.N.K.; Ojkic, D.; Whitney, H.G.; Robertson, G.J.; Lang, A.S. Discovery and Characterization of Novel RNA Viruses in Aquatic North American Wild Birds. Viruses 2019, 11, 768.

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