Virome heterogeneity and connectivity in waterfowl and shorebird communities

Research Highlight

Waterfowl and shorebird viruses have diverse tastes

© Kristian Bell/Getty

Viruses are often not exclusive to a single host, but frequently jump species that are connected by migrating birds, a study of avian viromes has found.

Shorebirds and ducks migrate across the globe, connecting the viromes of the world. They host several noteworthy pathological viruses for global bird populations. But despite the important role these birds play in transporting viruses, their viromes have remained poorly understood.

A collaboration involving a researcher at Deakin University has studied these avian viromes. The findings demonstrate that many viral strains can live in multiple hosts, dispelling the notion that virus–host relationships are exclusive.

While this viral connectivity spanned host species, it did not transcend order; no shared viral strains were detected between the shorebird and duck orders studied.

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  1. ISME Journal 13, 2603–2616 (2019). doi: 10.1038/s41396-019-0458-0
Institutions Authors Share
The University of Sydney (USYD), Australia
WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, Australia
The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute), Australia
Deakin University, Australia