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Recombinomics Commentary
December 10, 2004

WSN/33 Sequences in Swine on Korean Farms

Here is some additional background on the WSN/33 sequences in 2004 swine from Korea.  I have confirmed that the sequences were from pigs on a farm(s).  There are 6 isolates with human sequences.  Two are H1N1 and 7 of the 8 genes are closely related to WSN/33.  The other 4 are H9N2 and have 5,4,4,or 3 human genes.  All of the human genes are greater than 99% homologous with WSN/33, but virtually all have some differences with WSN/33 and each other.  There is high degree of fidelity in the avian sequences, suggesting that the differences with WSN/33 are not simply sequencing errors. 

Although the human genes are very closely related to WSN/33, there seem to be too many differences for the changes to be due to lab contamination of the swine samples.  However, I do not know of an independent confirmation of the sequences nor do I know of any recent human H1N1 cases with WSN/33 sequences.  WHO has been alerted to the possibility that these pigs in South Korea may contain sequences very closely related to the 1933 human sequence, WSN/33.  The isolates not only have reassorted genes, but they also have recombined genes, both between WSN/33 and avian sequences as well as between two distinct avian sources.
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