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Article Released Wed-16th-April-2008 18:25 GMT
Contact: Ruth Institution: Nature Publishing Group
 Disease: Modelling flu dynamics

The genomic sequences of more than a thousand influenza virus isolates are analysed in research published online in Nature this week. The results suggest a model in which new lineages arise from the tropics and move towards more temperate regions, and the work will have implications for selection of viruses for vaccine programmes.

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VOL.452 NO.7189 DATED 17 APRIL 2008

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Disease: Modelling flu dynamics (AOP)
DOI: 10.1038/nature06945

The genomic sequences of more than a thousand influenza virus isolates are analysed in research published online in Nature this week. The results suggest a model in which new lineages arise from the tropics and move towards more temperate regions, and the work will have implications for selection of viruses for vaccine programmes.

Edward Holmes and colleagues examine in detail the evolutionary dynamics of human influenza A virus at both the genomic and the epidemiological scales. Their set of 1,302 isolates from around the world, sampled over a 12-year period, allows them to quantify the genetic diversity of the virus. The team observe consistent dynamical patterns in Northern and Southern Hemisphere populations and hypothesize that the virus follows a ‘sink–source’ model in which new lineages arise one after the other from the tropical parts of the planet later to die out in other areas.

The research demonstrates the importance of analysing entire genomic sequences because the authors believe that multiple methods of mutation are involved in creating new viruses.

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Edward Holmes (The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA)
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Keywords associated to this article: disease modelline
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