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Virol J. 2011 Jun 3;8:271. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-8-271.

Molecular characterization and phylogenetic analysis of small ruminant lentiviruses isolated from Canadian sheep and goats.

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  • 1Canadian Food Inspection Agency, St-Hyacinthe Laboratory, Quebec, Canada. yvan.lhomme@inspection.gc.ca



Small Ruminant Lentiviruses (SRLV) are widespread in Canadian sheep and goats and represent an important health issue in these animals. There is however no data about the genetic diversity of Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Virus (CAEV) or Maedi Visna Virus (MVV) in this country.


We performed a molecular and phylogenetic analysis of sheep and goat lentiviruses from a small geographic area in Canada using long sequences from the gag region of 30 infected sheep and 36 infected goats originating from 14 different flocks. Pairwise DNA distance and phylogenetic analyses revealed that all SRLV sequences obtained from sheep clustered tightly with prototypical Maedi visna sequences from America. Similarly, all SRLV strains obtained from goats clustered tightly with prototypical US CAEV-Cork strain.


The data reported in this study suggests that Canadian and US SRLV strains share common origins. In addition, the molecular data failed to bring to light any evidence of past cross species transmission between sheep and goats, which is consistent with the type of farming practiced in this part of the country where single species flocks predominate and where opportunities of cross species transmissions are proportionately low.

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