Globalisation, in terms of the rapid and free movement of people, animals and food, has created a new paradigm, increasing the range and rate of distribution of many pathogens. In the present study, Torque teno sus viruses (TTSuVs) have been used as a model to evaluate the effects of global trade on viral heterogeneity, and how the movement of live pigs can affect the distribution and composition of virus populations. Seventeen countries from different parts of the world have been screened for TTSuV1 and TTSuvV2. High levels of genetic diversity have been found as well as two new TTSuV subtypes. A small fraction of this diversity (<5%) was related with spatial structure; however the majority (>50%) was best explained by the exchange of live pigs among countries, pointing to the direct relationship between the movement of hosts and the diversity of their accompanying viruses. Taking TTSuVs as sentinels, this study revealed that the distribution and diversity of comensal microflora in live animals subjected to global trade is shaped by the commercial movements among countries. In the case of TTSuVs, it appears that commercial movements of animals are eroding the genetic composition of the virus populations that may have been present in pig herds since their domestication. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
- Global trade
- Torque teno sus virus