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Multicenter partnership to sequence adenoviruses
BOSTON—A new partnership was unveiled today in a joint announcement from BGI, George Mason University (GMU), Massachusetts Eye and Ear and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC). The organizations have signed an agreement for the sequencing of 100 human adenoviruses gathered from researchers globally. The adenoviruses to be sequenced include ones that cause respiratory, gastrointestinal and ocular diseases, and the goal of the undertaking is to idenfity the molecular basis of adenovirus evolution. The researchers will seek a better understanding of base changes and genome recombinations in adenoviruses, as well as a better understanding of the genome basis for pathogenicity of adenoviruses.
"We welcome this opportunity to work with this Consortium and its global collaborators on the sequencing of 100 human adenoviruses," Yingrui Li, vice director of BGI, said in a press release regarding the initiative. "By applying BGI's state-of-the-art whole genome sequencing and analysis to these HAdVs, we believe we will make a significant contribution to identifying the evolution of adenovirus mutations and recombinations, and to an increased understanding of the genomic basis of their disease effects in humans."
Human adenoviruses are DNA viruses that cause a range of diseases, including metabolic, gastrointestinal and ocular diseases. The adenoviruses were first isolated in 1953 and originally were thought to be respiratory pathogens; since then, 67 new types of human adenoviruses have been identified. The generation of new genomic data is providing researchers with a more in-depth understanding of the nature of human adenoviruses, and additional sequencing is aiding in the understanding of how novel viral pathogens come about.
The researchers taking part in this initiative come from BGI, the School of Systems Biology at GMU, the Department of Ophthalmology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at OUHSC. All intellectual property that results from the partnership will be shared between BGI, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, OUHSC, GMU and their collaborators. Once the sequencing and analysis of the human adenoviruses is complete, the organizations will co-author a paper regarding their findings for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
Genome recombination is significant when it comes to the evolution of human adenoviruses, as it leads to new strains or the reemergence of pathogens that have mutated or become more virulent. A recent respiratory infection outbreak in China was thought to be a SARS outbreak, but ended up being a respiratory tract infections caused by adenovirus type 55, which had been identified in another outbreak in China in 2006.
"While genome mutations and recombination of DNA viruses like HAdVs are less common than observed for RNA viruses, when they do occur, the resultant virus may be a new and different pathogen," Dr. Donald Seto, professor in the School of Systems Biology at GMU, said in a press release. "With whole-genome sequencing provided by BGI, we will be able to answer how these viruses change over time, including how fast, enabling researchers to identify emerging pathogens, develop effective treatments, including vaccines, and begin to understand how to predict pathogens."
SOURCE: Massachusetts Eye and Ear press release