Evolution of human influenza A viruses in nature: Recombination contributes to genetic variation of H1N1 strains

J. F. Young, P. Palese

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Abstract

In June of 1977, a new influenza A pandemic was started by strains of the H1N1 serotype. Oligonucleotide fingerprint analysis of the RNA from viruses isolated during the early stage of this pandemic demonstrated that genetic variation among these 1977 strains could be attributed to sequential mutation. (Young, J.F., Desselberger, U. & Palese, P. 1979). Examination of more recent strains revealed that the H1N1 variants that were isolated in the winter of 1978-1979 differed considerably from the H1N1 viruses isolated the previous year. Oligonucleotide and peptide map analysis of the new prototype strain (A/Cal/10/78) suggested that it arose by recombination. It appears that only the HA, NA, M, and NS genes of this virus are derived from the earlier H1N1 viruses and that the P1, P2, P3, and NP genes most likely originate from an H3N2 parent. These data suggest that genetic variation in influenza virus strains of the same serotype is not restricted to mutation alone, but can also involve recombination (reassortment).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6547-6551
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume76
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 1979
Externally publishedYes

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