Taxonomic classification of archaeal and bacterial viruses is challenging, yet also fundamental for developing a predictive understanding of microbial ecosystems. Recent identification of hundreds of thousands of new viral genomes and genome fragments, whose hosts remain unknown, requires a paradigm shift away from traditional classification approaches and towards the use of genomes for taxonomy. Here we revisited the use of genomes and their protein content as a means for developing a viral taxonomy for bacterial and archaeal viruses. A network-based analytic was evaluated and benchmarked against authority-accepted taxonomic assignments and found to be largely concordant. Exceptions were manually examined and found to represent areas of viral genome ‘sequence space’ that are under-sampled or prone to excessive genetic exchange. While both cases are poorly resolved by genome-based taxonomic approaches, the former will improve as viral sequence space is better sampled and the latter are uncommon. Finally, given the largely robust taxonomic capabilities of this approach, we sought to enable researchers to easily and systematically classify new viruses. Thus, we established a tool, vConTACT, as an app at iVirus, where it operates as a fast, highly scalable, user-friendly app within the free and powerful CyVerse cyberinfrastructure.
In this article, we – the Bacterial Viruses Subcommittee and the Archaeal Viruses Subcommittee of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) – summarise the results of our activities for the period March 2020 – March 2021. We report the division of the former Bacterial and Archaeal Viruses Subcommittee in two separate Subcommittees, welcome new members, a new Subcommittee Chair and Vice Chair, and give an overview of the new taxa that were proposed in 2020, approved by the Executive Committee and ratified by vote in 2021. In particular, a new realm, three orders, 15 families, 31 subfamilies, 734 genera and 1845 species were newly created or redefined (moved/promoted).more » « less
- Award ID(s):
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- ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more »
- Publisher / Repository:
- Springer Science + Business Media
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Archives of Virology
- Page Range / eLocation ID:
- p. 3239-3244
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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