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Research Call

DAFM Reference


DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2011 11SF327 CIT €99,868

Project Title:

Mining and modelling: animal rotavirus epidemiology

Project Coordinator:

Dr Helen O'Shea

Project Abstract

Group A rotaviruses (RVs) are an important cause of gastroenteritis, in the young of both human and animals. Rotaviruses are non-enveloped, triple layered viruses, with a segmented genome (like influenza virus). Also, like influenza viruses, rotaviruses can exchange genes during co-infections (reassortment), resulting in novel virus strains, capable of infecting both humans and animals. There is a lot of data on the genes encoding the surface proteins of RVs, namely VP7; G-type and VP4; P-type, however, little is known about the genetic make-up of the remaining 9 gene segments of emerging and endemic RV strains. The amount of gene reassortment occurring in nature is not known, as few RV genomes have been sequenced, so an understanding of the zoonotic risk is hampered by limited information on the strains implicated in disease in various species. An earlier FIRM project (led by our group) provided detailed analysis of the molecular epidemiology of RV in humans and food animals in Ireland. There is now a large body of data accumulated, over a long period of time and it would be efficient and beneficial to carry out deep genome sequencing and molecular modeling in these and other, more recently gathered data. We propose establishing a large scale genomic project and sequencing the genomes of selected archived and recent isolates from this data, in collaboration with Dr Jelle Matthijnssens, who is a leader in this area. Large-scale RV genomics projects provide insight into how RVs evolve during their spread through the human population and are of huge potential utility for development and improvement of both diagnostic tests and vaccines, in human and veterinary medicine.

Final Report:

Final Report 11SF327 (pdf 870Kb)