Multicenter partnership to sequence adenoviruses

BGI, GMU, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, OUHSC to partner on sequencing effort

Kelsey Kaustinen
BOSTON—A new partnership was unveiled today in a jointannouncement from BGI, George Mason University (GMU), Massachusetts Eye andEar and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC). Theorganizations have signed an agreement for the sequencing of 100 humanadenoviruses gathered from researchers globally. The adenoviruses to besequenced include ones that cause respiratory, gastrointestinal and oculardiseases, and the goal of the undertaking is to idenfity the molecular basis ofadenovirus evolution. The researchers will seek a better understanding of basechanges and genome recombinations in adenoviruses, as well as a betterunderstanding of the genome basis for pathogenicity of adenoviruses.
 
"We welcome this opportunity to work with this Consortiumand its global collaborators on the sequencing of 100 human adenoviruses,"Yingrui Li, vice director of BGI, said in a press release regarding theinitiative. "By applying BGI's state-of-the-art whole genome sequencing andanalysis to these HAdVs, we believe we will make a significant contribution toidentifying the evolution of adenovirus mutations and recombinations, and to anincreased understanding of the genomic basis of their disease effects inhumans."
 
 
Human adenoviruses are DNA viruses that cause a range ofdiseases, including metabolic, gastrointestinal and ocular diseases. Theadenoviruses were first isolated in 1953 and originally were thought to berespiratory pathogens; since then, 67 new types of human adenoviruses have beenidentified. The generation of new genomic data is providing researchers with amore in-depth understanding of the nature of human adenoviruses, and additionalsequencing is aiding in the understanding of how novel viral pathogens comeabout.
 
 
The researchers taking part in this initiative come fromBGI, the School of Systems Biology at GMU, the Department of Ophthalmology atMassachusetts Eye and Ear and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology atOUHSC. All intellectual property that results from the partnership will beshared between BGI, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, OUHSC, GMU and theircollaborators. Once the sequencing and analysis of the human adenoviruses iscomplete, the organizations will co-author a paper regarding their findings forpublication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
 
 
Genome recombination is significant when it comes to theevolution of human adenoviruses, as it leads to new strains or the reemergenceof pathogens that have mutated or become more virulent. A recent respiratoryinfection outbreak in China was thought to be a SARS outbreak, but ended upbeing a respiratory tract infections caused by adenovirus type 55, which hadbeen identified in another outbreak in China in 2006.
 
 
"While genome mutations and recombination of DNA viruseslike 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 howthese viruses change over time, including how fast, enabling researchers toidentify emerging pathogens, develop effective treatments, including vaccines,and begin to understand how to predict pathogens."
 
 
 
SOURCE: Massachusetts Eye and Ear press release

Kelsey Kaustinen

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