Comparative metagenomics of Palearctic and Neotropical avian cloacal viromes reveal geographic bias in virus discovery



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Truchado, Daniel A. and Llanos Garrido, Alejandro and Oropesa Olmedo, David A. and Cerrada, Belén and Cea, Pablo and Moens, Michaël André Jean and Gómez-Lucía Duato, Esperanza and Doménech, Ana and Milá, Borja and Pérez Tris, Javier and Cadar, Daniel and Benítez Rico, Laura (2020) Comparative metagenomics of Palearctic and Neotropical avian cloacal viromes reveal geographic bias in virus discovery. Microorganisms, 8 (12). pp. 1-23. ISSN Electronic: 2076-2607

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Our understanding about viruses carried by wild animals is still scarce. The viral diversity of wildlife may be best described with discovery-driven approaches to the study of viral diversity that broaden research efforts towards non-canonical hosts and remote geographic regions. Birds have been key organisms in the transmission of viruses causing important diseases, and wild birds are threatened by viral spillovers associated with human activities. However, our knowledge of the avian virome may be biased towards poultry and highly pathogenic diseases. We describe and compare the fecal virome of two passerine-dominated bird assemblages sampled in a remote Neotropical rainforest in French Guiana (Nouragues Natural Reserve) and a Mediterranean forest in central Spain (La Herrería). We used metagenomic data to quantify the degree of functional and genetic novelty of viruses recovered by examining if the similarity of the contigs we obtained to reference sequences differed between both locations. In general, contigs from Nouragues were significantly less similar to viruses in databases than contigs from La Herrería using Blastn but not for Blastx, suggesting that pristine regions harbor a yet unknown viral diversity with genetically more singular viruses than more studied areas. Additionally, we describe putative novel viruses of the families Picornaviridae, Reoviridae and Hepeviridae. These results highlight the importance of wild animals and remote regions as sources of novel viruses that substantially broaden the current knowledge of the global diversity of viruses.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Wildlife virome; Avian virome; Neotropical birds; Animal viruses; Remote areas; Biodiscovery
Subjects:Medical sciences > Biology > Birds
Medical sciences > Biology > Microbiology
ID Code:63586
Deposited On:15 Jan 2021 12:51
Last Modified:05 May 2021 07:57

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