Beak and feather disease virus and porcine circovirus genomes: intermediates between the geminiviruses and plant circoviruses
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Circoviruses are a diverse group of animal and plant pathogens with undefined relationships to one another but for their non-geminate, non-enveloped capsids and circular, single-stranded DNA genomes. The sequences of the beak and feather disease virus and porcine circovirus genomic DNAs are presented and analyzed in the context of the other members of the family. Sequence comparisons, inferred phylogenies, and geographic occurrence suggest that the ambisense circoviruses, particularly the beak and feather disease virus, represent an evolutionary link between the geminiviruses and the plant circoviruses. We propose that the family members be reclassified into three groups: The family Circoviridae consists of the animal pathogens (beak and feather disease virus and porcine circovirus) that possess ambisense genomes with striking similarities to the geminiviruses. The BBTV-like viruses include the plant pathogens (coconut foliar decay virus, banana bunchy top virus, subterranean clover stunt virus) with a geminivirus-like stem-loop element in their DNAs, and single to multiple component genomes. The chicken anemia virus is an unassigned virus possessing unique characteristics bearing little similarity to the other ssDNA viruses.
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