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Rinder, Monika; Schmitz, Anna; Baas, Noreen; Korbel, Rüdiger (2020): Molecular identification of novel and genetically diverse adenoviruses in Passeriform birds. In: Virus Genes, Vol. 56, No. 3: pp. 316-324
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Knowledge about adenoviruses in birds of the order Passeriformes is very scarce. Based on molecular characterizations, only two siadenoviruses, great tit adenovirus 1 and Gouldian finch adenovirus, have been described so far occurring in great tits and Gouldian finches, respectively. Assuming a broader occurrence of adenoviruses, various passeriform birds including pet, zoo, and wild birds were examined using a broad-range PCR targeting a fragment of the adenovirus DNA polymerase gene. Adenoviruses were detected in 25 individual birds belonging to 13 species and seven zoological families (Ploceidae, Fringillidae, Estrildidae, Paridae, Sylviidae, Turdidae, Muscicapidae). The putative viruses were further characterized by sequencing the PCR products and phylogenetic analyses. DNA of adenoviruses affiliating to 3 genera including aviadenovirus, siadenovirus, and atadenovirus was found. Viruses with sequences identical or closely related to great tit adenovirus 1 and Gouldian finch adenovirus 1 were detected in a great tit and in two zebra finches, respectively. Based on polymerase amino acid sequence comparisons, the viruses found in the remaining 22 birds revealed phylogenetic distances larger than 15% to adenoviruses known so far suggesting that they may belong to at least 14 different virus species. In some bird species (great tit, zebra finch, vitelline masked weaver) varying adenovirus genera were detected. These results suggest a broad variety of adenoviruses circulating in passeriform birds.