Genetic Diversity of Talpa Europaea and Nova Hanta Virus (NVAV) in France

Bull Acad Vet Fr. 2014;167(3):10.4267/2042/54201. doi: 10.4267/2042/54201.


Nova hantavirus (NVAV) was first identified in a single European mole (Talpa europaea), captured in Hungary. Analysis of lung tissues from 94 moles captured in France revealed NVAV in 50%. Based on the genetic diversity of the cytochrome b mtDNA, moles collected in Poitiers and Bordeaux were more closely related to the Iberian mole (T. occidentalis), a species previously assumed to be restricted to the Iberian Peninsula. Several hypotheses are discussed to explain these observations: 1) presence of hitherto unnoticed T. occidentalis in southwestern France; 2) existence of an ancient mitochondrial introgression phenomenon between the two Talpa species, producing a particular phenotype in some hybrids; 3) existence of a hybrid zone between the two species; and 4) existence of a new Talpa species. NVAV was not detected in the southwestern moles, which begs the question of the potential presence of a particular Hantavirus sp. in this population and/or in the Iberian moles.

Keywords: Hantavirus; NVAV; Talpa europaea; Talpa occidentalis; phylogenetics; phylogeography.