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Virology. 2007 Apr 25;361(1):80-92. Epub 2006 Dec 13.

Genetic characterization of tick-borne flaviviruses: new insights into evolution, pathogenetic determinants and taxonomy.

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Unité des Virus Emergents (EA3292, IFR48, IRD UR0178), Faculté de Médecine La Timone, 27 boulevard Jean Moulin, 13005 Marseille, France.


Here, we analyze the complete coding sequences of all recognized tick-borne flavivirus species, including Gadgets Gully, Royal Farm and Karshi virus, seabird-associated flaviviruses, Kadam virus and previously uncharacterized isolates of Kyasanur Forest disease virus and Omsk hemorrhagic fever virus. Significant taxonomic improvements are proposed, e.g. the identification of three major groups (mammalian, seabird and Kadam tick-borne flavivirus groups), the creation of a new species (Karshi virus) and the assignment of Tick-borne encephalitis and Louping ill viruses to a unique species (Tick-borne encephalitis virus) including four viral types (i.e. Western Tick-borne encephalitis virus, Eastern Tick-borne encephalitis virus, Turkish sheep Tick-borne encephalitis virus and Louping ill Tick-borne encephalitis virus). The analyses also suggest a complex relationship between viruses infecting birds and those infecting mammals. Ticks that feed on both categories of vertebrates may constitute the evolutionary bridge between the three distinct identified lineages.

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