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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

LOCAL ADAPTATION IN RANAVIRUSES: ARE THE IRIDOVIRUS CORE GENES INFORMATIVE?**

Abstract

Ranaviruses are emerging pathogens of ectothermic vertebrates. They are globally distributed and affect over 150 species of amphibians, some of which are endangered. Ranaviruses can cause population declines and even local extinctions. In this study, we examined 15 different strains of Ambystoma tigrinum virus (ATV), that were known to have local variation in the Southwestern USA, at five core loci to see if this variation is visible in more conserved genes. The gene sequences were obtained from Genbank for each locus. The sequences for each locus were aligned using a MAFTT server and imported into MEGA for further analysis. In MEGA, a best fit nucleotide substitution model was determined for each locus and a maximum likelihood tree produced. These five trees were compared visually to each other and to trees built using the major capsid protein (another core gene commonly used for phylogenetic reconstruction) and the whole genome sequence. Unfortunately, based on preliminary results from these and other core genes, we believe that there is little variation and that the trees may be poorly resolved because of this, leading to the conclusion that the conserved core genes are not very informative for examining local adaptation in ranaviruses.

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