Aleutian Disease is a significant biological factor causing substantial losses in mink farming. The virus inducing the disease also infects wild populations which may constitute an asymptomatic reservoir. To compare genetic variants of the AMD virus occurring in wild and farmed mink populations, an analysis was performed on a fragment of the VP2 protein sequence of the virus infecting both populations, taken from different living environments.
Genetic material was isolated from 11 farmed animals in which anti-AMDV antibodies had been detected and from 20 wild animals. The DNA obtained was amplified using primers specific for the fragment encoding the VP2 protein. The product obtained was sequenced and bioinformatic analysis was performed.
Viral material was detected in 11 farmed and 7 free-living animals. Similarity of sequences averaged 99% within groups and 94% between groups. The sequencing results made it possible to identify characteristic changes for each group. In the isolates from the wild animals, the following changes were observed in the epitope region with respect to the reference sequence: C3704T, G3710A, T3722C, T3746C and A3749G. In the isolates from the farmed animals a G3779A transition was noted. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the variants infecting the two groups occupy separate branches of the phylogenetic tree.
The variants of the virus infecting the two groups may have a common origin, but at present they constitute two separate groups, with characteristic differences making it possible to recognize their genotype.