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Viruses. 2012 Sep;4(9):1425-37. PubMed; doi 10.3390/v4091425

Genetics-based classification of filoviruses calls for expanded sampling of genomic sequences.

Lauber, C.; Gorbalenya, A. E.

We have recently developed a computational approach for hierarchical, genome-based classification of viruses of a family (DEmARC). In DEmARC, virus clusters are delimited objectively by devising a universal family-wide threshold on intra-cluster genetic divergence of viruses that is specific for each level of the classification. Here, we apply DEmARC to a set of 56 filoviruses with complete genome sequences and compare the resulting classification to the ICTV taxonomy of the family Filoviridae. We find in total six candidate taxon levels two of which correspond to the species and genus ranks of the family. At these two levels, the six filovirus species and two genera officially recognized by ICTV, as well as a seventh tentative species for Lloviu virus and prototyping a third genus, are reproduced. DEmARC lends the highest possible support for these two as well as the four other levels, implying that the actual number of valid taxon levels remains uncertain and the choice of levels for filovirus species and genera is arbitrary. Based on our experience with other virus families, we conclude that the current sampling of filovirus genomic sequences needs to be considerably expanded in order to resolve these uncertainties in the framework of genetics-based classification.


  Московский Государственный Университет имени М.В.Ломоносова

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Московского Государственного Университета имени М.В.Ломоносова


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