Circovirus infections have been documented in adult and nestling canaries (Fringillidae) but the distribution of the virus in the world is not yet known. In captive canary flocks, Circovirus infections have been reported based on the clinical observations. In this study, the presence of both canary circovirus (CaCV) and chicken anemia virus (CAV) in canary flocks was investigated. Virus strains were detected by PCR and direct sequencing of amplified products. Nucleotide sequences were aligned and compared with existing data in GenBank. PCR identified CaCV-positive birds, giving an overall positivity rate of 25%, but all samples were negative for CAV. According to the sequencing data, three distinct strains were identified. Our results indicated a relationship between genetic variation in the replicase gene ( rep) and the geographic regions as well as the feasibility of using the rep gene for virus detection and molecular epidemiology investigations. We are reporting detection and characterization of canary circovirus based on the rep gene. Sequencing results and sequence identity analysis revealed that the rep gene could be used for detecting and discriminating the members of family Circoviridae. This manuscript is the first report of canary circovirus in Iran and of three new strains in the world.
Keywords: CAV; CaCV; Circovirus; canary; replicase gene.