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Nature Research, Nature Genetics, 7(45), p. 776-783

DOI: 10.1038/ng.2657

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The duck genome and transcriptome provide insight into an avian influenza virus reservoir species

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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Abstract

The duck (Anas platyrhynchos) is one of the principal natural hosts of influenza A viruses. We present the duck genome sequence and perform deep transcriptome analyses to investigate immune-related genes. Our data indicate that the duck possesses a contractive immune gene repertoire, as in chicken and zebra finch, and this repertoire has been shaped through lineage-specific duplications. We identify genes that are responsive to influenza A viruses using the lung transcriptomes of control ducks and ones that were infected with either a highly pathogenic (A/duck/Hubei/49/05) or a weakly pathogenic (A/goose/Hubei/65/05) H5N1 virus. Further, we show how the duck’s defense mechanisms against influenza infection have been optimized through the diversification of its β-defensin and butyrophilin-like repertoires. These analyses, in combination with the genomic and transcriptomic data, provide a resource for characterizing the interaction between host and influenza viruses.