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The “Giant Virus Finder” discovers an abundance of giant viruses in the Antarctic dry valleys

Abstract

Mimivirus was identified in 2003 from a biofilm of an industrial water-cooling tower in England. Later, numerous new giant viruses were found in oceans and freshwater habitats, some of them having 2,500 genes. We have demonstrated their likely presence in four soil samples taken from the Kutch Desert (Gujarat, India). Here we describe a bioinformatics work-flow, called the “Giant Virus Finder” that is capable of discovering the likely presence of the genomes of giant viruses in metagenomic shotgun-sequenced datasets. The new workflow is applied to numerous hot and cold desert soil samples as well as some tundra- and forest soils. We show that most of these samples contain giant viruses, especially in the Antarctic dry valleys. The results imply that giant viruses could be frequent not only in aqueous habitats, but in a wide spectrum of soils on our planet.

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Correspondence to Vince Grolmusz.

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C. Kerepesi and V. Grolmusz declare no conflict of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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Kerepesi, C., Grolmusz, V. The “Giant Virus Finder” discovers an abundance of giant viruses in the Antarctic dry valleys. Arch Virol 162, 1671–1676 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00705-017-3286-4

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Keywords

  • Mojave Desert
  • Word Size
  • Metagenomic Dataset
  • Metagenomic Sample
  • Giant Virus