Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What the smallest infectious agents reveal about evolution

Date:
May 23, 2013
Source:
BioMed Central Limited
Summary:
Radically different viruses share genes and are likely to share ancestry, according to new research. The comprehensive phylogenomic analysis compares giant viruses that infect amoeba with tiny viruses known as virophages and to several groups of transposable elements. The complex network of evolutionary relationships the authors describe suggests that viruses evolved from non-viral mobile genetic elements and vice versa, on more than one occasion.

Radically different viruses share genes and are likely to share ancestry, according to research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Virology Journal this week. The comprehensive phylogenomic analysis compares giant viruses that infect amoeba with tiny viruses known as virophages and to several groups of transposable elements. The complex network of evolutionary relationships the authors describe suggests that viruses evolved from non-viral mobile genetic elements and vice versa, on more than one occasion.

Related Articles


The recent discovery of virophages inside the giant viruses, which in turn infect amoeba, has led to speculation about their origin and their relationship to other viruses and small transposable genetic elements. To try to answer this question a research team including Eugene Koonin from the NIH and Didier Raoult from URMITE compared the genetic material from virophages, such as the Mavirus, Sputnik, or OLV (which was isolated from an Antarctic organic lake), to eukaryotic self replicating transposable elements known as Polintons or Mavericks.

Eugene Koonin explains: "Between the known virophages there are six conserved genes, arranged in a similar way. Five of these have counterparts in the Polintons, but their sequence and arrangement are sufficiently different to discount suggestions that Polintons evolved directly from a Maviruse-like ancestor. Rather our data suggests that Maviruses have evolved from a fusion between a Politon/Maverick-like transposable element and an unknown virus."

Including information about other viruses and virus-like elements: adenoviruses that infect animals and are one of the causes of the common cold; certain bacteriophages that infect bacteria; transpovirons which infect giant viruses; and a Tetrahymena transposable element (Tlr1), the virus "evolutionary tree" appears as a network of swapped genes.

Didier Raoult, whose team discovered the transpovirons, says: "It appears that viruses have evolved from non-viral genetic elements and vice versa on more than one occasion. Viral evolution is more complex than we thought."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central Limited. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Natalya Yutin, Didier Raoult and Eugene V Koonin. Virophages, polintons, and transpovirons: a complex evolutionary network of diverse selfish genetic elements with different reproduction strategies. Virology Journal, 2013, 10:158 DOI: 10.1186/1743-422X-10-158

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central Limited. "What the smallest infectious agents reveal about evolution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130523004605.htm>.
BioMed Central Limited. (2013, May 23). What the smallest infectious agents reveal about evolution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130523004605.htm
BioMed Central Limited. "What the smallest infectious agents reveal about evolution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130523004605.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins