Phylogeny and evolution of infectious bursal disease virus circulating in Turkish broiler flocks

Poult Sci. 2019 May 1;98(5):1976-1984. doi: 10.3382/ps/pey551.


The emergence of new infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) variants can threaten poultry health and production all over the world causing significant economic losses. Therefore, this study was performed to determine IBDV molecular epidemilogy, VP2 gene variation, and corresponding pathological lesions in IBDV infected chickens in Turkey. For this, 1855 bursa of Fabricius samples were collected from 371 vaccinated broiler flocks. Atrophia and haemorrhages were seen in the bursa Fabricius of very virulent IBDV (vvIBDV) infected chickens. Partial VP2 gene was sequenced and phylogenetic, recombination, and evolutionary analyses were performed. 1548 (83.5%) out of 1855 of bursa of Fabricius samples were IBDV positive and 1525 of those could be sequenced. The recombination analysis did not detect occurrence of any recombination event among the Turkish strains. Among 1525 sequenced samples, 1380 of them were found to be classical strains. Among 1380 classical strains, 1317 were similar to IBDV 2512, 11 to Faragher 52/70, 40 to 228 E, and 12 to Lukert strain. Out of 1525 reverse transcriptase ploymerase chain reaction positive samples, 144 of them were found to be similar to vvIBDV-VP2 gene reported to GenBank previously. The phylogenetic tree performed on a broad sequence dataset demonstrated grouping of vvIBDV Turkish strains in three different clusters, including sequences collected also from Iraq and Kuwait (Cluster 1), Indian (Cluster 2), and a distinct Turkish-only cluster (Cluster 3). The evolutionary rate estimation on branches/clades including Turkish strain mirrored the expected one for RNA viruses and no significant differences were found among different considered branches. In conclusion, results of this study indicate that vvIBDV strains similar to those circulating in various countries in the Middle East are present and undergoing evolution in chickens from Turkish broiler flocks. This point needs to be taken into account in planning adequate control strategies.

Keywords: Gumboro; VP2-gene; chicken; phylogenetic; virus.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Birnaviridae Infections / epidemiology
  • Birnaviridae Infections / veterinary*
  • Birnaviridae Infections / virology
  • Chickens*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Infectious bursal disease virus / genetics*
  • Molecular Epidemiology
  • Phylogeny
  • Poultry Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Poultry Diseases / virology
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA / veterinary
  • Turkey / epidemiology
  • Viral Structural Proteins / genetics*


  • RNA, Viral
  • VP2 protein, infectious bursal disease virus
  • Viral Structural Proteins