Rigorous large-scale whole genome comparisons are capable of providing more comprehensive and potentially more accurate descriptions of viral relationships, allowing for the effective validation and modification of current taxonomy. Using a set of 5 togaviruses as an outgroup, a comprehensive phylogeny for 115 isometric positive ssRNA plant viruses was generated based on the simultaneous comparison of over 480 ORFs found within completely sequenced genomes. With the exception of a diverse group of viruses representing the family Comoviridae , the single tree generated contained well supported branches corresponding to well established groups of viruses, including Bromoviridae , Umbravirus , Sobemovirus , and Tymoviridae . In addition, evidence for specific relationships between groups were also observed, specifically Tombusviridae + Umbravirus , and Luteoviridae + Sobemovirus . Various well established subgroups of viruses were also well resolved within the tree. In addition, some recent proposals involving the creation of new genera or the inclusion of newly described viruses into established genera were supported, while others were not. The evidence for frequent gene sharing and the potential consequences to viral taxonomy are discussed.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 1, 2006
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