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High-resolution melt curve analysis to confirm the presence of co-circulating isolates of avian nephritis virus in commercial chicken flocks

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Avian Nephritis Virus (ANV) has been implicated in poor growth and renal disease of young chickens. This paper describes the development of a reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction for the detection of ANV in commercial meat chickens and the use of high-resolution melt curves to detect the presence of genetically different ANVs. Pooled cloacal swabs from both healthy and ill commercial chicken broiler flocks were tested for the presence of ANV using a combination of polymerase chain reaction, molecular cloning, high-resolution melt curve analysis and sequencing. Except for one, all specimens were found to contain two genetically different ANVs. Phylogenetic analysis of the capsid amino acid sequences revealed the presence of four of six groups of ANV identified previously in other countries as well as in two novel groups of ANV. Phylogenetic analysis of nucleotide sequences of partial polymerase, capsid and 3′ untranslated regions reveal that the genes of individual ANV virus isolates have different ancestors. This was shown to be due to a template-switching event in the capsid gene that resulted in the 3′ end of the capsid gene and the 3′ untranslated region of one ANV isolate being transferred to another ANV. These results reveal that infection of chicken flocks with multiple ANV isolates is common and this needs to be taken into consideration in diagnosis of ANV using molecular techniques and in future epidemiological investigations.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Asia Pacific Centre for Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Werribee, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Publication date: November 2, 2015

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