, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 561-566
Date: 04 Nov 2004

Effects of Culturing on the Population Structure of a Hyperthermophilic Virus

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The existence of a culturing bias has long been known when sampling organisms from the environment. This bias underestimates microbial diversity and does not accurately reflect the most ecologically relevant species. Until now no study has examined the effects of culture bias on viral populations. We have employed culture-independent methods to assess the diversity of Sulfolobus spindle–shaped viruses (SSVs) from extremely hyperthermal environments. This diversity is then compared to the viral diversity of cultured samples. We detected a clear culturing bias between environmental samples and cultured isolates. This is the first study identifying a culture bias in a viral population.