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Avian influenza genome sequences released.

The complete genetic coding sequences of 150 different avian influenza viruses have been released by USDA scientists and collaborators in government, industry, and universities. The release to GenBank--the National Institutes of Health's genetic sequence database--was part of a special sequencing project supported by the Presidential initiative on avian influenza.

Partners involved in collecting the viruses included USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's Wildlife Services, the University of Georgia (UGA), Ohio State University (OSU), the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, and others.

Virus isolates were prepared at the ARS Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory (SEPRL) in Athens, Georgia. Then the viral noninfectious genetic material--ribonucleic acid, or RNA--was sent to industry collaborator SeqWright Corporation in Houston, Texas, which fully sequenced the genome of each virus. The sequence information was reviewed and annotated at SEPRL for release to GenBank.

The sequence information will be combined with studies comparing the viruses' ability to infect and cause disease in chickens, turkeys, and domestic ducks. The biological characterization was performed with collaborators at UGA, OSU, and University of Delaware.

The sequence analysis and biological data will help researchers learn more about virus biology and how these viruses cause disease in humans and other animals. The information will also support development of diagnostic tests for avian influenza viruses. David Suarez, Exotic and Emerging Avian Viral Diseases Research Unit, Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory, Athens, Georgia; phone (706) 546-3479, e-mail
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Title Annotation:Science Update
Publication:Agricultural Research
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2009
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