Mimivirus was identified in 2003 from a biofilm of an industrial water-cooling tower in England. Later, numerous new giant viruses were found in oceans and freshwater habitats, some of them having 2,500 genes. We have demonstrated their likely presence in four soil samples taken from the Kutch Desert (Gujarat, India). Here we describe a bioinformatics work-flow, called the “Giant Virus Finder” that is capable of discovering the likely presence of the genomes of giant viruses in metagenomic shotgun-sequenced datasets. The new workflow is applied to numerous hot and cold desert soil samples as well as some tundra- and forest soils. We show that most of these samples contain giant viruses, especially in the Antarctic dry valleys. The results imply that giant viruses could be frequent not only in aqueous habitats, but in a wide spectrum of soils on our planet.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 28, 2017
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