Genome sequence of a reassortant strain of bluetongue virus serotype 23 from Western India

The full genome sequence (19,177 bp) of an Indian strain (IND1988/02) of bluetongue virus (BTV) serotype 23 was determined. This virus was isolated from a sheep that had been killed during a severe bluetongue outbreak that occurred in Rahuri, Maharashtra State, western India, in 1988. Phylogenetic analyses of these data demonstrate that most of the genome segments from IND1988/02 belong to the major "eastern" BTV topotype. However, genome segment 5 belongs to the major "western" BTV topotype, demonstrating that IND1988/02 is a reassortant. This may help to explain the increased virulence that was seen during this outbreak in 1988. Genome segment 5 of IND1988/02 shows >99% sequence identity with some other BTV isolates from India (e.g., BTV-3 IND2003/08), providing further evidence of the existence and circulation of reassortant strains on the subcontinent.

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