Natural recombination in alphaherpesviruses: Insights into viral evolution through full genome sequencing and sequence analysis.

Recombination in alphaherpesviruses was first described more than sixty years ago. Since then, different techniques have been used to detect recombination in natural (field) and experimental settings. Over the last ten years, next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies and bioinformatic analyses have greatly increased the accuracy of recombination detection, particularly in field settings, thus contributing greatly to the study of natural alphaherpesvirus recombination in both human and veterinary medicine. Such studies have highlighted the important role that natural recombination plays in the evolution of many alphaherpesviruses. These studies have also shown that recombination can be a safety concern for attenuated alphaherpesvirus vaccines, particularly in veterinary medicine where such vaccines are used extensively, but also potentially in human medicine where attenuated varicella zoster virus vaccines are in use. This review focuses on the contributions that NGS and sequence analysis have made over the last ten years to our understanding of recombination in mammalian and avian alphaherpesviruses, with particular focus on attenuated live vaccine use.

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