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Increased virulence of rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus associated with genetic resistance in wild Australian rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Elsworth, Peter and Cooke, Brian D. and Kovaliski, John and Sinclair, Ronald and Holmes, Edward C. and Strive, Tanja (2014) Increased virulence of rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus associated with genetic resistance in wild Australian rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Virology, 464–465 . pp. 415-423. ISSN 0042-6822

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2014.06.037

Publisher URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0042682214003092

Abstract

The release of myxoma virus (MYXV) and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) in Australia with the aim of controlling overabundant rabbits has provided a unique opportunity to study the initial spread and establishment of emerging pathogens, as well as their co-evolution with their mammalian hosts. In contrast to MYXV, which attenuated shortly after its introduction, rapid attenuation of RHDV has not been observed. By studying the change in virulence of recent field isolates at a single field site we show, for the first time, that RHDV virulence has increased through time, likely because of selection to overcome developing genetic resistance in Australian wild rabbits. High virulence also appears to be favoured as rabbit carcasses, rather than diseased animals, are the likely source of mechanical insect transmission. These findings not only help elucidate the co-evolutionary interaction between rabbits and RHDV, but reveal some of the key factors shaping virulence evolution.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Keywords:Transmission Virulence Adaptive evolution Biological control Rabbit Calicivirus Emerging disease Genetic resistance
Subjects:Science > Biology > Genetics
Veterinary medicine > Diseases of special classes of animals
Deposited On:21 Jan 2015 03:59
Last Modified:21 Jan 2015 03:59

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