In contrast to the RNA viruses, the genome of large DNA viruses such as herpesviruses have been considered to be relatively stable. Intra-specific recombination has been proposed as an important, but underestimated, driving force in herpesvirus evolution. Recently, two distinct field strains of infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV) have been shown to have arisen from independent recombination events between different commercial ILTV vaccines. In this study we sequenced the genomes of additional ILTV strains and also utilized other recently updated complete genome sequences of ILTV to confirm the existence of a number of ILTV recombinants in nature. Multiple recombination events were detected in the unique long and repeat regions of the genome, but not in the unique short region. Most recombinants contained a pair of crossover points between two distinct lineages of ILTV, corresponding to the European origin and the Australian origin vaccine strains of ILTV. These results suggest that there are two distinct genotypic lineages of ILTV and that these commonly recombine in the field.
Lee, S. W., Devlin, J. M., Markham, J. F., Noormohammadi, A. H., Browning, G. F., Ficorilli, N. P., … Markham, P. F. (2013). Phylogenetic and Molecular Epidemiological Studies Reveal Evidence of Multiple Past Recombination Events between Infectious Laryngotracheitis Viruses. PLoS ONE, 8(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0055121