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J Gen Virol. 2008 Feb;89(Pt 2):534-9. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.83134-0.

Genogroup I picobirnaviruses in pigs: evidence for genetic diversity and relatedness to human strains.

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Regional Laboratory of Virology, Baranya County Institute of State Public Health Service, Szabadság út 7, H-7623 Pécs, Hungary.


Picobirnaviruses (PBVs) are small, non-enveloped viruses with a bisegmented double-stranded RNA genome. Their pathogenic potential, ecology, and evolutionary features are largely unexplored. Here, we describe the molecular analysis of porcine PBVs identified in the intestinal content of dead pigs. Six of 13 positive samples were cloned and then subjected to single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis and nucleotide sequencing. All clones belonged to genogroup I PBVs and almost all clones clustered on separate branches from human strains. A single strain shared a notably close genetic relationship with a Hungarian human PBV strain (89.9 nt and 96.4% aa identity). Genetic diversity was also observed among strains identified in mixed infections. Single point mutations and deleterious mutations within highly related strains suggested that PBVs exist as quasispecies in the swine alimentary tract. Clones with complete sequence identities originating from different animals suggested effective animal-to-animal transmission of the virus. Our findings indicate that infection with genogroup I PBVs is common in pigs.

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