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Koala retrovirus viral load and disease burden in distinct northern and southern koala populations

Sarker, Nishat; Fabijan, Jessica; Owen, Helen; Seddon, Jennifer; Simmons, Greg; Speight, Natasha; Kaler, Jasmeet; Woolford, Lucy; Emes, Richard David; Hemmatzadeh, Farhid; Trott, Darren; Meers, Joanne; Tarlinton, Rachael Eugenie


Nishat Sarker

Jessica Fabijan

Helen Owen

Jennifer Seddon

Greg Simmons

Natasha Speight

Professor of Epidemiology & Precision Livestock Informatics

Lucy Woolford

Professor of Bioinformatics

Farhid Hemmatzadeh

Darren Trott

Joanne Meers


Koala retrovirus (KoRV) displays features of both an endogenous and exogenous virus and is linked to neoplasia and immunosuppression in koalas. This study explores the apparent differences in the nature and impact of KoRV infection between geographically and genetically separated "northern" and "southern" koala populations, by investigating the disease status, completeness of the KoRV genome and the proviral (DNA) and viral (RNA) loads of 71 northern and 97 southern koalas. All northern animals were positive for all KoRV genes (gag, pro-pol and env) in both DNA and RNA forms, whereas many southern animals were missing one or more KoRV genes. There was a significant relationship between the completeness of the KoRV genome and clinical status in this population. The proviral and viral loads of the northern population were significantly higher than those of the southern population (P 


Trott, D. J., Sarker, N., Fabijan, J., Owen, H., Seddon, J., Simmons, G., …Tarlinton, R. E. (2020). Koala retrovirus viral load and disease burden in distinct northern and southern koala populations. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 263.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 13, 2019
Online Publication Date Jan 14, 2020
Publication Date Jan 14, 2020
Deposit Date Dec 17, 2019
Publicly Available Date Nov 30, -0001
Journal Scientific reports
Print ISSN 2045-2322
Electronic ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 1
Article Number 263
Pages 263
Keywords Multidisciplinary
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Received: 23 July 2019; Accepted: 13 December 2019; First Online: 14 January 2020; : The authors declare no competing interests.


s41598-019-56546-0 (1.6 Mb)

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