A genome-wide pairwise-identity-based proposal for the classification of viruses in the genus Mastrevirus (family Geminiviridae)

Brejnev Muhire, Darren P. Martin, Judith K. Brown, Jesús Navas-Castillo, Enrique Moriones, F. Murilo Zerbini, Rafael Rivera-Bustamante, V. G. Malathi, Rob W. Briddon, Arvind Varsani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

152 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent advances in the ease with which the genomes of small circular single-stranded DNA viruses can be amplified, cloned, and sequenced have greatly accelerated the rate at which full genome sequences of mastreviruses (family Geminiviridae, genus Mastrevirus) are being deposited in public sequence databases. Although guidelines currently exist for species-level classification of newly determined, complete mastrevirus genome sequences, these are difficult to apply to large sequence datasets and are permissive enough that, effectively, a high degree of leeway exists for the proposal of new species and strains. The lack of a standardised and rigorous method for testing whether a new genome sequence deserves such a classification is resulting in increasing numbers of questionable mastrevirus species proposals. Importantly, the recommended sequence alignment and pairwise identity calculation protocols of the current guidelines could easily be modified to make the classification of newly determined mastrevirus genome sequences significantly more objective. Here, we propose modified versions of these protocols that should substantially minimise the degree of classification inconsistency that is permissible under the current system. To facilitate the objective application of these guidelines for mastrevirus species demarcation, we additionally present a user-friendly computer program, SDT (species demarcation tool), for calculating and graphically displaying pairwise genome identity scores. We apply SDT to the 939 full genome sequences of mastreviruses that were publically available in May 2012, and based on the distribution of pairwise identity scores yielded by our protocol, we propose mastrevirus species and strain demarcation thresholds of >78 % and >94 % identity, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1411-1424
Number of pages14
JournalArchives of virology
Volume158
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology

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    Muhire, B., Martin, D. P., Brown, J. K., Navas-Castillo, J., Moriones, E., Zerbini, F. M., Rivera-Bustamante, R., Malathi, V. G., Briddon, R. W., & Varsani, A. (2013). A genome-wide pairwise-identity-based proposal for the classification of viruses in the genus Mastrevirus (family Geminiviridae). Archives of virology, 158(6), 1411-1424. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00705-012-1601-7