Antarctica is considered a relatively uncontaminated region with regard to the infectious diseases because of its extreme environment, and isolated geography. For the genetic characterization and molecular epidemiology of the newly found penguin adenovirus in Antarctica, entire genome sequencing and annual survey of penguin adenovirus were conducted. The entire genome sequences of penguin adenoviruses were completed for two Chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis antarctica) and two Gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua). The whole genome lengths and G+C content of penguin adenoviruses were found to be 24,630-24,662 bp and 35.5-35.6%, respectively. Notably, the presence of putative sialidase gene was not identified in penguin adenoviruses by Rapid Amplification of cDNA Ends (RACE-PCR) as well as consensus specific PCR. The penguin adenoviruses were demonstrated to be a new species within the genus Siadenovirus, with a distance of 29.9-39.3% (amino acid, 32.1-47.9%) in DNA polymerase gene, and showed the closest relationship with Turkey adenovirus 3 (TAdV-3) in phylogenetic analysis. During the 2008-2013 study period, the penguin adenoviruses were annually detected in 22 of 78 penguins (28.2%), and the molecular epidemiological study of the penguin adenovirus indicates a predominant infection in Chinstrap penguin population (12/30, 40%). Interestingly, the genome of penguin adenovirus could be detected in several internal samples, except the lymph node and brain. In conclusion, an analysis of the entire adenoviral genomes from Antarctic penguins was conducted, and the penguin adenoviruses, containing unique genetic character, were identified as a new species within the genus Siadenovirus. Moreover, it was annually detected in Antarctic penguins, suggesting its circulation within the penguin population.
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