Australasian pigeon circoviruses demonstrate natural spillover infection

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Pigeon circovirus (PiCV) is considered to be genetically diverse, with a relatively smallcircular single-stranded DNA genome of 2 kb that encodes for a capsid protein (Cap) and a replica-tion initiator protein (Rep). Australasia is known to be the origin of diverse species of the OrderColumbiformes, but limited data on the PiCV genome sequence has hindered phylogeographicstudies in this species. To fill this gap, this study was conducted to investigate PiCV in 118 charac-teristic samples from different birds across Australia using PCR and sequencing. Eighteen partialPiCV Rep sequences and one complete PiCV genome sequence were recovered from reservoir andaberrant hosts. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that PiCV circulating in Australia was scatteredacross three different subclades. Importantly, one subclade dominated within the PiCV sequencedfrom Australia and Poland, whereas other PiCV sequenced in this study were more closely relatedto the PiCV sequenced from China, USA and Japan. In addition, PiCV Rep sequences obtained fromclinically affected plumed whistling duck, blue billed duck and Australian magpie demonstratednatural spillover of PiCV unveiled host generalist characteristics of the pigeon circovirus. Thesefindings indicate that PiCV genomes circulating in Australia lack host adapted population structurebut demonstrate natural spillover infection.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2025
Number of pages12
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


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