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Virology. 1993 Mar;193(1):503-6.

Genetic reassortment between avian and human influenza A viruses in Italian pigs.

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Department of Virology and Molecular Biology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee 38101.


Pandemic strains of influenza A virus arise by genetic reassortment between avian and human viruses. To examine the possibility that pigs serve as "mixing vessels" for such reassortment events (Scholtissek et al., Virology 147, 287-294, 1985), we phylogenetically analyzed the internal protein genes of classic H1N1, avian-like H1N1, and human-like H3N2 viruses circulating among Italian pigs. The results show that human-like H3N2 strains isolated from 1985 to 1989 contained the internal protein genes of avian-like H1N1 viruses, whereas those isolated in 1977 and 1983 did not. Thus, at some time between 1983 and 1985, genetic reassortment took place between avian- and human-like viruses in Italian pigs. This study provides the first evidence supporting genetic reassortment between human and avian viruses in a natural swine environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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