Increased virulence of rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus associated with genetic resistance in wild Australian rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Peter Elsworth, Brian Cooke, John Kovaliski, Ronald Sinclair, Edward Holmes, Tanja Strive

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    29 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The release of myxoma virus (MYXV) and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) in Australia with the aim of controlling over abundant rabbits has provided a unique opportunity to study the initial spread and establishment of emerging pathogens, as well as their co-evolution with their mammalian hosts. In contrast to MYXV, which attenuated shortly after its introduction, rapid attenuation of RHDV has not been observed. By studying the change in virulence of recent field isolates at a single field site we show, for the first time, that RHDV virulence has increased through time, likely because of selection to overcome developing genetic resistance in Australian wild rabbits. High virulence also appears to be favoured as rabbit carcasses, rather than diseased animals, are the likely source of mechanical insect transmission. These findings not only help elucidate the co-evolutionary interaction between rabbits and RHDV, but reveal some of the key factors shaping virulence evolution.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)415-423
    Number of pages9
    JournalVirology
    Volume464-465
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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    Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus
    Virulence
    Myxoma virus
    Rabbits
    Animal Diseases
    Virulence Factors
    Insects

    Cite this

    Elsworth, Peter ; Cooke, Brian ; Kovaliski, John ; Sinclair, Ronald ; Holmes, Edward ; Strive, Tanja. / Increased virulence of rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus associated with genetic resistance in wild Australian rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). In: Virology. 2014 ; Vol. 464-465. pp. 415-423.
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    abstract = "The release of myxoma virus (MYXV) and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) in Australia with the aim of controlling over abundant rabbits has provided a unique opportunity to study the initial spread and establishment of emerging pathogens, as well as their co-evolution with their mammalian hosts. In contrast to MYXV, which attenuated shortly after its introduction, rapid attenuation of RHDV has not been observed. By studying the change in virulence of recent field isolates at a single field site we show, for the first time, that RHDV virulence has increased through time, likely because of selection to overcome developing genetic resistance in Australian wild rabbits. High virulence also appears to be favoured as rabbit carcasses, rather than diseased animals, are the likely source of mechanical insect transmission. These findings not only help elucidate the co-evolutionary interaction between rabbits and RHDV, but reveal some of the key factors shaping virulence evolution.",
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    Increased virulence of rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus associated with genetic resistance in wild Australian rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). / Elsworth, Peter; Cooke, Brian; Kovaliski, John; Sinclair, Ronald; Holmes, Edward; Strive, Tanja.

    In: Virology, Vol. 464-465, 2014, p. 415-423.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    T1 - Increased virulence of rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus associated with genetic resistance in wild Australian rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

    AU - Elsworth, Peter

    AU - Cooke, Brian

    AU - Kovaliski, John

    AU - Sinclair, Ronald

    AU - Holmes, Edward

    AU - Strive, Tanja

    PY - 2014

    Y1 - 2014

    N2 - The release of myxoma virus (MYXV) and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) in Australia with the aim of controlling over abundant rabbits has provided a unique opportunity to study the initial spread and establishment of emerging pathogens, as well as their co-evolution with their mammalian hosts. In contrast to MYXV, which attenuated shortly after its introduction, rapid attenuation of RHDV has not been observed. By studying the change in virulence of recent field isolates at a single field site we show, for the first time, that RHDV virulence has increased through time, likely because of selection to overcome developing genetic resistance in Australian wild rabbits. High virulence also appears to be favoured as rabbit carcasses, rather than diseased animals, are the likely source of mechanical insect transmission. These findings not only help elucidate the co-evolutionary interaction between rabbits and RHDV, but reveal some of the key factors shaping virulence evolution.

    AB - The release of myxoma virus (MYXV) and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) in Australia with the aim of controlling over abundant rabbits has provided a unique opportunity to study the initial spread and establishment of emerging pathogens, as well as their co-evolution with their mammalian hosts. In contrast to MYXV, which attenuated shortly after its introduction, rapid attenuation of RHDV has not been observed. By studying the change in virulence of recent field isolates at a single field site we show, for the first time, that RHDV virulence has increased through time, likely because of selection to overcome developing genetic resistance in Australian wild rabbits. High virulence also appears to be favoured as rabbit carcasses, rather than diseased animals, are the likely source of mechanical insect transmission. These findings not only help elucidate the co-evolutionary interaction between rabbits and RHDV, but reveal some of the key factors shaping virulence evolution.

    KW - Transmission

    KW - Virulence

    KW - Adaptiveevolution

    KW - Biological control

    KW - Rabbit

    KW - Calicivirus

    KW - Emerging disease

    KW - Genetic resistance

    U2 - 10.1016/j.virol.2014.06.037

    DO - 10.1016/j.virol.2014.06.037

    M3 - Article

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    EP - 423

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    JF - Virology

    SN - 0042-6822

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