The Novel Genetic Background of Infectious Bursal Disease Virus Strains Emerging from the Action of Positive Selection

Anna Pikuła, Anna Lisowska, Agnieszka Jasik, Lester J. Perez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The circulation in Europe of novel reassortant strains of infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV), containing a unique genetic background composition, represents a serious problem for animal health. Since the emergence of this novel IBDV mosaic was first described in Poland, this scenario has become particularly attractive to uncover the evolutionary forces driving the genetic diversity of IBDV populations. This study additionally addressed the phenotypic characterization of these emergent strains, as well as the main features affecting the viral fitness during the competition process of IBDV lineages in the field. Our results showed how different evolutionary mechanisms modulate the genetic diversity of co-existent IBDV lineages, leading to the error catastrophe effect, Muller ratchet effect, or prevalence, depending on their genetic compositions. We also determined that the action of the positive selection pressure, depending on the genomic segment on which it is acting, can drive two main phenotypes for IBDV: immune-escaping strains from the selection on segment A or strains with functional advantages from the selection on segment B. This last group seems to possess an increased fitness landscape in the viral quasispecies composition, presenting better adaptability to dissimilar environmental conditions and likely becoming the dominant population. The reassortant strains also exhibited a lower mortality rate compared with the well-known vvIBDV strains, which can facilitate their spreading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number396
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2 2021


  • very virulent infectious bursal disease virus
  • in vivo pathogenicity
  • reassortment
  • genetic evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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