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Title: vConTACT: an iVirus tool to classify double-stranded DNA viruses that infect Archaea and Bacteria

Taxonomic classification of archaeal and bacterial viruses is challenging, yet also fundamental for developing a predictive understanding of microbial ecosystems. Recent identification of hundreds of thousands of new viral genomes and genome fragments, whose hosts remain unknown, requires a paradigm shift away from traditional classification approaches and towards the use of genomes for taxonomy. Here we revisited the use of genomes and their protein content as a means for developing a viral taxonomy for bacterial and archaeal viruses. A network-based analytic was evaluated and benchmarked against authority-accepted taxonomic assignments and found to be largely concordant. Exceptions were manually examined and found to represent areas of viral genome ‘sequence space’ that are under-sampled or prone to excessive genetic exchange. While both cases are poorly resolved by genome-based taxonomic approaches, the former will improve as viral sequence space is better sampled and the latter are uncommon. Finally, given the largely robust taxonomic capabilities of this approach, we sought to enable researchers to easily and systematically classify new viruses. Thus, we established a tool, vConTACT, as an app at iVirus, where it operates as a fast, highly scalable, user-friendly app within the free and powerful CyVerse cyberinfrastructure.
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [1] ;  [4]
  1. The Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH (United States). Dept of Microbiology
  2. Paris Sciences et Lettres Research Univ. (PSL), Paris (France). Ecole Normale Superieure, Inst. de Biologie de l'ENS (IBENS); Paris Sciences et Lettres Research Univ. (PSL), Paris (France). City of Paris Industrial Physics and Chemistry Higher Educational Institution (ESPCI)
  3. The Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH (United States). Dept of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  4. The Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH (United States). Dept of Microbiology; The Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH (United States). Dept of of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0010580; OCE-1536989; 3790; 3305
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 2167-8359
PeerJ Inc.
Research Org:
Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23); National Science Foundation (NSF); Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
Country of Publication:
United States
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; Virus; Bacteriophage; Archaeal viruses; Taxonomy
OSTI Identifier: