1887

Abstract

(RHDV), a of the family , causes rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD) in the European rabbit (). The disease was first documented in 1984 in China and rapidly spread worldwide. In 2010, a new RHDV variant emerged, tentatively classified as ‘RHDVb’. RHDVb is characterized by affecting vaccinated rabbits and those <2 months old, and is genetically distinct (~20 %) from older strains. To determine the evolution of RHDV, including the new variant, we generated 28 full-genome sequences from samples collected between 1994 and 2014. Phylogenetic analysis of the gene encoding the major capsid protein, VP60, indicated that all viruses sampled from 2012 to 2014 were RHDVb. Multiple recombination events were detected in the more recent RHDVb genomes, with a single major breakpoint located in the 5′ region of VP60. This breakpoint divides the genome into two regions: one that encodes the non-structural proteins and another that encodes the major and minor structural proteins, VP60 and VP10, respectively. Additional phylogenetic analysis of each region revealed two types of recombinants with distinct genomic backgrounds. Recombinants always include the structural proteins of RHDVb, with non-structural proteins from non-pathogenic lagoviruses or from pathogenic genogroup 1 strains. Our results show that in contrast to the evolutionary history of older RHDV strains, recombination plays an important role in generating diversity in the newly emerged RHDVb.

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2015-06-01
2019-10-18
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