Adenoviruses in avian hosts: Recent discoveries shed new light on adenovirus diversity and evolution

Ajani Athukorala, Karla J. Helbig, Brian P. Mcsharry, Jade K. Forwood, Subir Sarker

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While adenoviruses cause infections in a wide range of vertebrates, members of the genus Atadenovirus, Siadenovirus, and Aviadenovirus predominantly infect avian hosts. Several recent studies on avian adenoviruses have encouraged us to re-visit previously proposed adenovirus evolutionary concepts. Complete genomes and partial DNA polymerase sequences of avian adenoviruses were extracted from NCBI and analysed using various software. Genomic analyses and constructed phylogenetic trees identified the atadenovirus origin from an Australian native passerine bird in contrast to the previously established reptilian origin. In addition, we demonstrated that the theories on higher AT content in atadenoviruses are no longer accurate and cannot be considered as a species demarcation criterion for the genus Atadenovirus. Phylogenetic reconstruction further emphasised the need to reconsider siadenovirus origin, and we recommend extended studies on avian adenoviruses in wild birds to provide finer evolutionary resolution.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1767
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2022


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