Bluetongue Research at a Crossroads: Modern Genomics Tools Can Pave the Way to New Insights

Annu Rev Anim Biosci. 2022 Feb 15:10:303-324. doi: 10.1146/annurev-animal-051721-023724.


Bluetongue virus (BTV) is an arthropod-borne, segmented double-stranded RNA virus that can cause severe disease in both wild and domestic ruminants. BTV evolves via several key mechanisms, including the accumulation of mutations over time and the reassortment of genome segments.Additionally, BTV must maintain fitness in two disparate hosts, the insect vector and the ruminant. The specific features of viral adaptation in each host that permit host-switching are poorly characterized. Limited field studies and experimental work have alluded to the presence of these phenomena at work, but our understanding of the factors that drive or constrain BTV's genetic diversification remains incomplete. Current research leveraging novel approaches and whole genome sequencing applications promises to improve our understanding of BTV's evolution, ultimately contributing to the development of better predictive models and management strategies to reduce future impacts of bluetongue epizootics.

Keywords: Culicoides; bluetongue virus; ecology; epidemiology; evolution; reassortment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bluetongue virus* / genetics
  • Bluetongue*
  • Genomics
  • Insect Vectors / genetics
  • Ruminants
  • Sheep
  • Sheep Diseases*