A phylogenetic survey of recombination frequency in plant RNA viruses
The severe economic consequences of emerging plant viruses highlights the importance of studies of plant virus evolution. One question of particular relevance is the extent to which the genomes of plant viruses are shaped by recombination. To this end we conducted a phylogenetic survey of recombination frequency in a wide range of positive-sense RNA plant viruses, utilizing 975 capsid gene sequences and 157 complete genome sequences. In total, 12 of the 36 RNA virus species analyzed showed evidence for recombination, comprising 17% of the capsid gene sequence alignments and 44% of the genome sequence alignments. Given the conservative nature of our analysis, we propose that recombination is a relatively common process in some plant RNA viruses, most notably the potyviruses.
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