Duck genome provides new insight into fighting bird flu

Mallard Duck
Mallard Duck. Credit: Wikipedia

The duck genome consortium, consisted of scientists from China Agricultural University, BGI, University of Edinburgh and other institutes has completed the genome sequencing and analysis of the duck (Anas platyrhynchos), one principal natural host of influenza A viruses, which caused a new epidemic in China since this February. This work reveals some noteworthy conclusions and provides an invaluable resource for unraveling the interactive mechanisms between the host and influenza viruses.

The new H7N9 bird killed 36 people and caused $6.5 billion loss to China's economy. As a natural host of influenza A viruses (including H5N1), the duck is known to often remain asymptomatic under . To uncover the interactive mechanisms between the host and influenza viruses, researchers sequenced the genome of a 10-week-old female Beijing duck, and conducted transcriptomic studies on two virus-infected ducks.

This work yielded the of a waterfowl-duck for the first time, and the data indicated that the duck, like the chicken and zebra finch, possessed a contractive immune gene repertoire comparing to those in mammals, and it also comprises novel genes that are not present in the other three birds (chicken, and turkey).

By comparing gene expression in the lungs of ducks infected with either highly or weakly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 viruses, the team identified genes whose expression patterns were altered in response to avian . They also identify factors that may be involved in duck host immune response to avian virus infection, including the avian and mammalian -defensin gene families.

Jianwen Li, project manager from BGI, said, "This study provides very important data to better understand the interaction between the host and the avian influenza. Scientists will be able to explore more deeply the mechanisms on the spread and infection of avian influenza."


Explore further

Source identification of H7N9 influenza virus causing human infections

More information: DOI: 10.1038/ng.2657
Provided by BGI Shenzhen
Citation: Duck genome provides new insight into fighting bird flu (2013, June 9) retrieved 17 October 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-06-duck-genome-insight-bird-flu.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Jun 09, 2013
Duck Dynasty beat ya to it.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more