First Advisor

Luis A. Ruedas

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Biology






Hantaviruses, Peromyscus maniculatus -- Pacific Northwest, Phylogeny -- Molecular aspects



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, iv, 423 pages)


Sin Nombre virus (SNV, family Bunyaviridae, genus Hantavirus), hosted by the deer mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus (family Cricetidae, Subfamily Neotominae), is the primary etiological agent of Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in the western United States. HPS, with known pathogenicity only to humans and for which there is no cure or prophylaxis, affects the epithelium of the lungs by making the capillaries leaky, thereby resulting in bilateral infiltrates, and eventually leading to respiratory failure and death by drowning in approximately 38% of hospitalized patients.

In the Americas, Peromyscus has been co-evolving with hantaviruses for approximately 12–20 million years, since the first cricetids crossed Beringia, radiating and differentiating into the Neotominae and Sigmodontinae currently found in the New World. As it stands, the evolutionary relationships of deer mice remains unclear, consequently, so too is the associated viral phylogeny, with twelve named quasispecies in the genus Hantavirus presently characterized in North America, and twenty five quasispecies in the Western Hemisphere. Evidence of this opacity is seen in the new species that are regularly being discovered from among these host conspecifics suggesting that many uncharacterized hantaviruses remain to be described.


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