, Volume 149, Issue 5, pp 1045-1060
Date: 02 May 2004

Virology Division News: The new plant virus family Flexiviridae and assessment of molecular criteria for species demarcation

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Summary.

The new plant virus family Flexiviridae is described. The family is named because its members have flexuous virions and it includes the existing genera Allexivirus, Capillovirus, Carlavirus, Foveavirus, Potexvirus, Trichovirus and Vitivirus, plus the new genus Mandarivirus together with some related viruses not assigned to any genus. The family is justified from phylogenetic analyses of the polymerase and coat protein (CP) sequences. To help to define suitable molecular criteria for demarcation of species, a complete set of pairwise comparisons was made using the nucleotide (nt) and amino acid (aa) sequences of each fully-sequenced gene from every available accession in the family. Based on the distributions and on inspection of the data, it was concluded that, as a general rule, distinct species have less than ca. 72% identical nt or 80% identical aa between their entire CP or replication protein genes.

An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00705-004-0384-x