Smith L P, Petheridge L, Nair V, Wood A, Welchman D (2017)

Avian leukosis virus subgroup J-associated myelocytoma in a hobby chicken

Veterinary Record early view,


The avian leukosis viruses (ALVs) are a major group of retroviruses associated with neoplastic diseases in poultry. The ALV-J strain was identified as a cause of myelocytomas in broiler breeder and broiler chickens in the UK in the 1980s; however, following eradication of the virus,commercial broilers have remained free of infection since the early 2000s. A pet chicken was submitted to Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in 2013 with a history of croaking respirations, abnormality of the left eye and apparent paralysis. Postmortem examination of the bird showed widespread tumour-like infiltration of many organs, including the pectoral muscles, internal organs, sternum and ribs. Histopathological examination of the affected tissues revealed myelocytoma formation typical of the lesions associated with ALV-J, and the virus was confirmed by PCR testing and sequencing. Virus was not detected in blood samples in the other five chickens remaining in the flock. The source of infection was not established. This was the first time ALV-J had been seen in the UK since its eradicationand the case highlights the importance of continued surveillance of backyard and hobby chickens to detect potential new and re-emerging disease threats, such as ALV-J, which may be of significance to the wider poultry population.

Shabbir M Z, Sohail M U, Chaudhary U N, Yaqub W, Rashid I, Saleem M H, Munir M (2017)

Genetic characterization of canine parvovirus from dogs in Pakistan

Acta Virologica 61 (2), 175-182


Canine parvoviruses (CPV) exist as antigenic variants with varying frequencies and genetic variabilities across the globe. Given the endemicity and high prevalence in Pakistan, we characterized the CPVs originating from dogs-population to elucidate viral diversity and evolution. Fecal samples from clinically diseased pups (n = 17) of different breeds and age (2-6 months) were processed for hemagglutination assay (HA), and later for partial amplification of VP2 gene sequence and amino acid analysis. A total of 11 samples (64.71%) were found positive both in hemagglutination and PCR assays. Phylogenetic and evolutionary analysis demonstrated higher genetic heterogeneity in studied strains and constituted seven clusters within the CPV-2a group, however, they shared high level of identity with Chinese strains. Further studies are necessary to elucidate genetic analysis and epidemiology of CPV variants across a wide geographical area of the country.

Mahapatra M, Upadhyaya S, Aviso S, Babu A, Hutchings G, Parida S (2017)

Selection of vaccine strains for serotype O foot-and-mouth disease viruses (2007-2012) circulating in Southeast Asia, East Asia and Far East

Vaccine early view,


Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is endemic in Southeast Asia (SEA) and East Asia with circulation of multiple serotypes and multiple genotypes within each serotype of the virus. Although countries like Japan and South Korea in the Far East were free of FMD, in 2010 FMD serotype O (O/Mya-98) outbreaks were recorded and since then South Korea has experienced several FMD outbreaks despite regular vaccination. In this study a total of 85 serotype O FMD viruses (FMDV) isolated from 2007 to 2012 from SEA, East Asia and Far East were characterized by virus neutralisation tests using antisera to four existing (O/HKN/6/83, O/IND/R2/75, O/SKR/2010 and O/PanAsia-2) and one putative (O/MYA/2009) vaccine strains, and by full capsid sequencing. Serological studies revealed broad cross-reactivity with the vaccine strains; O/PanAsia-2 exhibited a good match with 95.3%, O/HKN/6/83 with 91.8%, O/IND/R2/75 with 80%, and the putative strain O/MYA/2009 with 89.4% isolates employed in this study. Similarly O/PanAsia-2 and O/IND/R2/75 vaccines showed a good match with all eight viruses belonging to O-Ind-2001d sublineage whereas the vaccines of O/Mya-98 lineage, O/MYA/2009 and O/SKR/2010 exhibited the lowest match indicating their unsuitability to protect infections from O-Ind-2001d viruses. A Bayesian analysis of the capsid sequence data indicated these circulating viruses (n?=?85) to be of either SEA or Middle East-South Asian (ME-SA) topotype. The ME-SA topotype viruses were mainly detected in Lao PDR, Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand reflecting the trade links with the Indian subcontinent, and also within the SEA countries. Implications of these results in the context of FMD control in SEA and East Asian countries are discussed.

Dulwich K L, Giotis E S, Gray A, Nair V, Skinner M A, Broadbent A J (2017)

Differential gene expression in chicken primary B cells infected ex vivo with attenuated and very virulent strains of infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV)

Journal of General Virology early view,


Infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) belongs to the family Birnaviridae and is economically important to the poultry industry worldwide. IBDV infects B cells in the bursa of Fabricius (BF), causing immunosuppression and morbidity in young chickens. In addition to strains that cause classical Gumboro disease, the so-called ‘very virulent’ (vv) strain, also in circulation, causes more severe disease and increased mortality. IBDV has traditionally been controlled through the use of live attenuated vaccines, with attenuation resulting from serial passage in non-lymphoid cells. However, the factors that contribute to the vv or attenuated phenotypes are poorly understood. In order to address this, we aimed to investigate host cell–IBDV interactions using a recently described chicken primary B-cell model, where chicken B cells are harvested from the BF and cultured ex vivo in the presence of chicken CD40L. We demonstrated that these cells could support the replication of IBDV when infected ex vivo in the laboratory. Furthermore, we evaluated the gene expression profiles of B cells infected with an attenuated strain (D78) and a very virulent strain (UK661) by microarray. We found that key genes involved in B-cell activation and signalling (TNFSF13B, CD72 and GRAP) were down-regulated following infection relative to mock, which we speculate could contribute to IBDV-mediated immunosuppression. Moreover, cells responded to infection by expressing antiviral type I IFNs and IFN-stimulated genes, but the induction was far less pronounced upon infection with UK661, which we speculate could contribute to its virulence.

Leftwich P T, Edward D A, Alphey L, Gage M J G, Chapman T (2012)

Variation in adult sex ratio alters the association between courtship, mating frequency and paternity in the lek-forming fruitfly Ceratitis capitata

Journal of Evolutionary Biology 25 (9), 1732-1740


The intensity with which males deliver courtship and the frequency with which they mate are key components of male reproductive success. However, we expect the strength of the relationship between these traits and a male's overall paternity to be strongly context dependent, for example to be altered significantly by the extent of post-mating competition. We tested this prediction in a lekking insect, Ceratitis capitata (medfly). We examined the effect of manipulating the sex ratio from male- to female-biased (high and low male competition, respectively) on courtship behaviour, mating frequency and paternity of focal males. Under high male competition, focal males delivered significantly more courtship but gained lower paternity than under lower competition. Paternity was positively associated with mating frequency and small residual testes size. However, the association between mating frequency and paternity was significantly stronger under low competition. We conclude that manipulation of sex ratio significantly altered the predictors of mating success and paternity. The relationship between pre- and post-mating success is therefore plastic and alters according to the prevailing level of competition. The results highlight the importance of post-copulatory processes in lekking species and illuminate selection pressures placed on insects such as medflies that are mass reared for pest control.

Leftwich P T, Bolton M, Chapman T (2016)

Evolutionary biology and genetic techniques for insect control

Evolutionary Applications 9 (1), 212-230


The requirement to develop new techniques for insect control that minimize negative environmental impacts has never been more pressing. Here we discuss population suppression and population replacement technologies. These include sterile insect technique, genetic elimination methods such as the release of insects carrying a dominant lethal (RIDL), and gene driving mechanisms offered by intracellular bacteria and homing endonucleases. We also review the potential of newer or underutilized methods such as reproductive interference, CRISPR technology, RNA interference (RNAi), and genetic underdominance. We focus on understanding principles and potential effectiveness from the perspective of evolutionary biology. This offers useful insights into mechanisms through which potential problems may be minimized, in much the same way that an understanding of how resistance evolves is key to slowing the spread of antibiotic and insecticide resistance. We conclude that there is much to gain from applying principles from the study of resistance in these other scenarios - specifically, the adoption of combinatorial approaches to minimize the spread of resistance evolution. We conclude by discussing the focused use of GM for insect pest control in the context of modern conservation planning under land-sparing scenarios.


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