Hepatitis B Virus in Cranes

In 2003, scientists reported an infection several species of cranes with a novel Hepatitis B Virus, designated Crane Hepatitis B Virus, that has an unexpectedly broad host range and is only distantly evolutionarily related to Hepatitis B Viruses of related hosts[1].

A total of twelve sera derived from two Manchurian cranes (Grus japonensis), four demoiselle cranes (Anthropoides virgo), three grey crowned cranes (Balearica regulorum), two blue cranes (Anthropoides paradisea) and one sandhill crane (Crus canadensis) were tested. All sera were obtained from German zoos in Berlin, Nürnberg, Dresden and Karlsruhe.
[Image: Jesep del Hoyo]
The DNA of the virus revealed that Crane Hepatitis B Virus is most closely related to, although distinct from, Ross' Goose Hepatitis B Virus and slightly less closely related to Duck Hepatitis B Virus.

Of course, cranes are relatively distant from geese and ducks, but are most closely related to herons and storks. One would assume that the Crane Hepatitis B Virus would have some more similarity with Heron Hepatitis B Virus and Stork Hepatitis B Virus, but Mother Nature does not always oblige us.
[Relationship of Avian Hepatitis B Viruses]
All Avian Hepatitis B Viruses known so far have a very limited host range, restricted to their natural hosts and a few closely related species.

[1] Prassolove et al: New hepatitis B virus of cranes that has an unexpected broad host range in Journal of Virology - 2003

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