The detection of avian viruses in wild populations has considerable conservation implications. For DNA-based studies, feathers may be a convenient sample type for virus screening and are, therefore, an increasingly common technique. This is despite recent concerns about DNA quality, ethics, and a paucity of data comparing the reliability and sensitivity of feather sampling to other common sample types such as blood. Alternatively, skeletal muscle tissue may offer a convenient sample to collect from dead birds, which may reveal viraemia. Here, we describe a probe-based quantitative real-time PCR for the relative quantification of beak and feather disease virus (BFDV), a pathogen of serious conservation concern for parrots globally. We used this method to test for BFDV in wild crimson rosellas (Platycercus elegans), and compared three different sample types. We detected BFDV in samples from 29 out of 84 individuals (34.5%). However, feather samples provided discordant results concerning virus presence when compared with muscle tissue and blood, and estimates of viral load varied somewhat between different sample types. This study provides evidence for widespread infection of BFDV in wild crimson rosellas, but highlights the importance of sample type when generating and interpreting qualitative and quantitative avian virus data.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 63 • No. 1