The duck genome and transcriptome provide insight into an avian influenza virus reservoir species

Nat Genet. 2013 Jul;45(7):776-783. doi: 10.1038/ng.2657. Epub 2013 Jun 9.


The duck (Anas platyrhynchos) is one of the principal natural hosts of influenza A viruses. We present the duck genome sequence and perform deep transcriptome analyses to investigate immune-related genes. Our data indicate that the duck possesses a contractive immune gene repertoire, as in chicken and zebra finch, and this repertoire has been shaped through lineage-specific duplications. We identify genes that are responsive to influenza A viruses using the lung transcriptomes of control ducks and ones that were infected with either a highly pathogenic (A/duck/Hubei/49/05) or a weakly pathogenic (A/goose/Hubei/65/05) H5N1 virus. Further, we show how the duck's defense mechanisms against influenza infection have been optimized through the diversification of its β-defensin and butyrophilin-like repertoires. These analyses, in combination with the genomic and transcriptomic data, provide a resource for characterizing the interaction between host and influenza viruses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Chickens / genetics
  • Disease Reservoirs*
  • Disease Vectors
  • Ducks / genetics*
  • Ducks / immunology
  • Ducks / virology*
  • Female
  • Geese / genetics
  • Genome* / physiology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / genetics
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology
  • Immunity / genetics
  • Influenza in Birds / genetics*
  • Influenza in Birds / immunology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Species Specificity
  • Transcriptome / genetics*

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE22967