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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Characterization of the mutant spectra of a fish RNA virus within individual hosts during natural infections.

Infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) is an RNA virus that causes significant mortalities of salmonids in the Pacific Northwest of North America. RNA virus populations typically contain genetic variants that form a heterogeneous virus pool, referred to as a quasispecies or mutant spectrum. This study characterized the mutant spectra of IHNV populations within individual fish reared in different environmental settings by RT-PCR of genomic viral RNA and determination of partial glycoprotein gene sequences of molecular clones. The diversity of the mutant spectra from ten in vivo populations was low and the average mutation frequencies of duplicate populations did not significantly exceed the background mutation level expected from the methodology. In contrast, two in vitro populations contained variants with an identical mutational hot spot. These results indicated that the mutant spectra of natural IHNV populations is very homogeneous, and does not explain the different magnitudes of genetic diversity observed between the different IHNV genogroups. Overall the mutant frequency of IHNV within its host is one of the lowest reported for RNA viruses.[1]


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