First complete genome sequence of European turkey coronavirus suggests complex recombination history related with US turkey and guinea fowl coronaviruses.
Phylogenetic analysis of complete genomes of the avian coronaviruses avian infectious bronchitis (AIBV) and turkey coronavirus (TCoV) supported the hypothesis that numerous recombination events have occurred between these viruses. Although the two groups of viruses differed markedly in the sequence of the spike protein, the gene (S) encoding this protein showed no evidence of positive selection or of an elevated mutation rate. Rather, the data suggested that recombination events have homogenized the portions of the genome other than the S gene between the two groups of viruses, while continuing to maintain the two distinct, anciently diverged versions of the S gene. The latter hypothesis was supported by a phylogeny of S proteins from representative coronaviruses, in which S proteins of AIBV and TCoV fell in the same clade.