Towards inferring the global movement of beak and feather disease virus

Gordon W. Harkins, Darren P. Martin, Alan Christoffels, Arvind Varsani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Beak and feather disease virus (BFDV) is a circular single-stranded DNA virus that causes psittacine beak and feather disease. We analysed 184 publically available BFDV full genomes to infer both the approximate geographical origin of the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of these sequences and past BFDV long-range migrations using a Bayesian phylogeographic analyses. While the analysed BFDV sequences were sampled over too brief a period to ensure a strong enough temporal signal for accurate long-term substitution rate estimation, we were nevertheless able to identify Australia as the most likely location of the MRCA; A finding consistent with historical records of BFDV incidence. We additionally identified various trans-global BFDV movements including a number from Europe to regions of the world where psittacines are naturally found. This is concerning because it suggests that any BFDV variants that might emerge in captive European birds could directly threaten wild psittacine populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-33
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • BFDV
  • Beak and feather disease virus
  • Circovirus
  • Parrots
  • Phylogeography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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