Population Dynamics of Circulating Strains in North America

Justification/Summary

WNV exists in nature as a diverse collection of genomes both between and within hosts, and has experienced considerable evolutionary change since its introduction.  As part of this study, we have generated the genomic resources required to characterize the historical and currently circulating WNV genotypes in the US and to define its population biology and molecular epidemiology. The full-genome consensus sequence of 2,500 WNV strains collected since the virus was introduced into North America, and 2,250 collected prospectively during the course of this project will be determined.  These data will allow us to discern 1) the genotypes currently circulating in North America, 2) the major routes of intracontinental WNV migration, 4) the population growth rate and spatial variability of WNV, 5) the effect of selection pressures on functionally distinct regions of the WNV genomes, and 6) viral genomic correlates of virulence.   The genome sequences that derive from this project will allow unprecedented insights into the evolutionary processes that govern WNV and the viral determinants of host association, transmissibility and pathogenesis. The results will be informative for many zoonotic arthropod-borne viruses currently circulating in the U.S. (e.g., St. Louis encephalitis virus, eastern equine encephalitis virus), or those posing a threat to the U.S. through natural or intentional introduction (e.g., Rift Valley fever virus, Japanese encephalitis virus).

People

Principal External Collaborators

Gregory D. Ebel - Dept. of Pathology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM

Laura D. Kramer - Wadsworth Center Arbovirus Lab, New York State Dept. of Health, Slingerlands, NY

Funding

Funding for this sequencing project was provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Cohort Description

WNV_CT - Existing collection of virus isolated in Connecticut from various avian species between 2000 and 2009.  Newly isolated strains will be included as they become available.

WNV_NY - Existing collection of virus isolated in New York state from various avian species between 2000 and 2009.  Newly isolated strains will be included as they become available.

WNV_IL - Existing collection of virus isolated in Illinois from various avian species between 2000 and 2009.  Newly isolated strains will be included as they become available.

WNV_NM  - Existing collection of virus isolated in New Mexico from various avian species between 2000 and 2009.  Newly isolated strains will be included as they become available.