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Curr Opin Virol. 2012 Jun;2(3):344-52. doi: 10.1016/j.coviro.2012.02.012. Epub 2012 Mar 15.

Animal virus discovery: improving animal health, understanding zoonoses, and opportunities for vaccine development.

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  • 1Blood Systems Research Institute and University of California, San Francisco, United States.


The characterization of viral genomes has accelerated due to improvement in DNA sequencing technology. Sources of animal samples and molecular methods for the identification of novel viral pathogens and steps to determine their pathogenicity are listed. The difficulties for predicting future cross-species transmissions are highlighted by the wide diversity of known viral zoonoses. Recent surveys of viruses in wild and domesticated animals have characterized numerous viruses including some closely related to those infecting humans. The detection of multiple genetic lineages within viral families infecting a single host species, phylogenetically interspersed with viruses found in other host species, reflects past cross-species transmissions. Numerous opportunities for the generation of novel vaccines will arise from a better understanding of animal viromes.

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