Genomic Characterisation of a Novel Avipoxvirus Isolated from an Endangered Yellow-Eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes)

Sarker, Subir, Athukorala, Ajani, Bowden, Timothy R., and Boyle, David B. (2021) Genomic Characterisation of a Novel Avipoxvirus Isolated from an Endangered Yellow-Eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes). Viruses, 13 (2). 194.

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Emerging viral diseases have become a significant concern due to their potential consequences for animal and environmental health. Over the past few decades, it has become clear that viruses emerging in wildlife may pose a major threat to vulnerable or endangered species. Diphtheritic stomatitis, likely to be caused by an avipoxvirus, has been recognised as a significant cause of mortality for the endangered yellow-eyed penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) in New Zealand. However, the avipoxvirus that infects yellow-eyed penguins has remained uncharacterised. Here, we report the complete genome of a novel avipoxvirus, penguinpox virus 2 (PEPV2), which was derived from a virus isolate obtained from a skin lesion of a yellow-eyed penguin. The PEPV2 genome is 349.8 kbp in length and contains 327 predicted genes; five of these genes were found to be unique, while a further two genes were absent compared to shearwaterpox virus 2 (SWPV2). In comparison with penguinpox virus (PEPV) isolated from an African penguin, there was a lack of conservation within the central region of the genome. Subsequent phylogenetic analyses of the PEPV2 genome positioned it within a distinct subclade comprising the recently isolated avipoxvirus genome sequences from shearwater, canary, and magpie bird species, and demonstrated a high degree of sequence similarity with SWPV2 (96.27%). This is the first reported genome sequence of PEPV2 from a yellow-eyed penguin and will help to track the evolution of avipoxvirus infections in this rare and endangered species.

Item ID: 79823
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1999-4915
Keywords: Avipoxvirus, Complete genome, Endangered yellow-eyed penguin, Evolution, Penguinpox virus 2
Copyright Information: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC DE200100367
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2023 05:25
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3009 Veterinary sciences > 300914 Veterinary virology @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3105 Genetics > 310509 Genomics @ 50%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 50%
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280101 Expanding knowledge in the agricultural, food and veterinary sciences @ 50%
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