Avian influenza virus exhibits distinct evolutionary dynamics in wild birds and poultry

Wild birds are the major reservoir hosts for influenza A viruses, occasionally transmitting to other species such as domesticated poultry. Despite an abundance of genomic data from avian influenza virus (AIV), little is known about whether AIV evolves differently in wild birds and poultry, although this is critical to revealing the dynamics and time-scale of viral evolution. In particular, because environmental (water-borne) transmission is more common in wild birds, which may reduce the number of replications per unit time, it is possible that evolutionary rates are systematically lower in wild birds than in poultry.

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