Hunting Viruses in Crocodiles: Viral and endogenous retroviral detection and characterisation in farmed crocodiles

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Previous RIRDC projects investigating runtism and Chlamydial infections in crocodiles found evidence that viral infections could be contributing to these conditions. This could not be confirmed due to the lack of a suitable system for isolating viruses from crocodiles. This report describes the development of primary cell lines from crocodiles and the use of these to isolate viruses from diseased crocodiles. Isolated viruses were then used to develop serological tests for epidemiological studies. This component of the project was conducted at Berrimah Veterinary Laboratory (BVL).

This report also describes the second component of the project, investigating endogenous retroviruses (ERVs), conducted at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney. The data generated by this project supported the notion that ERVs are present throughout the crocodile genome in many copies of both ancient and recent ERVs.

The report is targeted at crocodile farm managers and advisors, animal health professionals, researchers involved in both laboratory and field aspects of crocodiles and other reptiles and other researchers with a general interest in virology.

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