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Genetic reassortment between endemic and introduced Macrobrachium rosenbergii Nodaviruses in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia.


Macrobrachium rosenbergii nodavirus (MrNV)—the aetiological agent of white tail disease—is a major limiting factor of crustacean aquaculture as it causes up to 100% mortality in M. rosenbergii larvae and juveniles. Despite the importance of MrNV, there have been few studies on the phylogenetic diversity and geographic range of this virus in Australian waterways. Here, we detected MrNV genomes in common carp (Cyprinus carpio) metatranscriptomes sampled at five freshwater sites across the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB), Australia. We identified genetic divergence of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase gene between MrNV sequences identified in the northern and southern rivers of the MDB. Northern viruses exhibited strong phylogenetic clustering with MrNV from China, whereas the southern viruses were more closely related to MrNV from Australia. However, all five viruses were closely related in the capsid protein, indicative of genetic reassortment of the RNA1 and RNA2 segments between Australian and introduced MrNV. In addition, we identified Macrobrachium australiense in two of the five MrNV-positive libraries, suggesting that these species may be important reservoir hosts in the MDB. Overall, this study reports the first occurrence of MrNV outside of the Queensland region in Australia and provides evidence for genetic reassortment between endemic and introduced MrNV.

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