The ecological importance of viruses is now widely recognized, yet our limited knowledge of viral sequence space and virus-host interactions precludes accurate prediction of their roles and impacts. Here we mined publicly available bacterial and archaeal genomic datasets to identify 12,498 high‑confidence viral genomes linked to their microbial hosts. These data augment public datasets 10-fold, provide first viral sequences for 13 new bacterial phyla including ecologically abundant phyla, and help taxonomically identify 7-38% of 'unknown' sequence space in viromes. Genome- and network-based classification was largely consistent with accepted viral taxonomy and suggested that (i) 264 new viral genera were identified (doubling known genera) and (ii) cross-taxon genomic recombination is limited. Further analyses provided empirical data on extrachromosomal prophages and co‑infection prevalences, as well as evaluation of in silico virus-host linkage predictions. Together these findings illustrate the value of mining viral signal from microbial genomes.
- Richard A Neher, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Germany
© 2015, Roux et al.
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Biogeographical studies have traditionally focused on readily visible organisms, but recent technological advances are enabling analyses of the large-scale distribution of microscopic organisms, whose biogeographical patterns have long been debated. Here we assessed the global structure of plankton geography and its relation to the biological, chemical, and physical context of the ocean (the ‘seascape’) by analyzing metagenomes of plankton communities sampled across oceans during the Tara Oceans expedition, in light of environmental data and ocean current transport. Using a consistent approach across organismal sizes that provides unprecedented resolution to measure changes in genomic composition between communities, we report a pan-ocean, size-dependent plankton biogeography overlying regional heterogeneity. We found robust evidence for a basin-scale impact of transport by ocean currents on plankton biogeography, and on a characteristic timescale of community dynamics going beyond simple seasonality or life history transitions of plankton.
Of all the non-human primate species studied by researchers, the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) is likely the most widely used across biological disciplines. Rhesus macaques have thrived during the Anthropocene and now have the largest natural range of any non-human primate. They are highly social, exhibit marked genetic diversity, and display remarkable niche flexibility (which allows them to live in a range of habitats and survive on a variety of diets). These characteristics mean that rhesus macaques are well-suited for understanding the links between sociality, health and fitness, and also for investigating intra-specific variation, adaptation and other topics in evolutionary ecology.