The discovery of three new hare lagoviruses reveals unexplored viral diversity in this genus

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Jackie E MaharEdward C Holmes


Our knowledge of mammalian viruses has been strongly skewed toward those that cause disease in humans and animals. However, recent metagenomic studies indicate that most apparently healthy organisms carry viruses, and that these seemingly benign viruses may comprise the bulk of virus diversity. The bias toward studying viruses associated with overt disease is apparent in the lagoviruses (family Caliciviridae) that infect rabbits and hares: although most attention has been directed toward the highly pathogenic members of this genus - the rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus and European brown hare syndrome virus - a number of benign lagoviruses have also been identified. To determine whether wild European brown hares in Australia might also carry undetected benign viruses, we used a meta-transcriptomics approach to explore the gut and liver RNA viromes of these invasive animals. This led to the discovery of three new lagoviruses. While one of the three viruses was only detected in a single hare, the other two viruses were detected in 20% of all hares tested. All three viruses were most closely related to other hare lagoviruses, but were highly distinct from both known viruses and each other. We also found evidence for complex recom...Continue Reading

Related Concepts

Recombination, Genetic
Meta Analysis (Statistical Procedure)
Lepus europaeus (organism)
European Race

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