Giant viruses have brought new perspectives on the virosphere. They have been increasingly described in humans, including in several metagenomic studies. Here, we searched into the metagenome of the 5300-year-old Ötzi mummy for the presence of giant virus-related sequences using MG-Digger pipeline. We found 19 reads (0.00006% of the total read number) that best matched (mean ± standard deviation (range) for e-values of 5.0E-6 ± 1.4E-6 (6.0E-5–4.0E-10) and for amino acid identity of 69.9 ± 8.7% (46.4–84.9%) and most significantly with sequences from various giant viruses, including mostly mimiviruses. This expands current knowledge on the ubiquity and relationship with humans of giant viruses.
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This work was supported by the French Government under the “Investments for the Future” program managed by the National Agency for Research (ANR), Méditerranée-Infection 10-IAHU-03 and was also supported by Région Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur and European funding FEDER PRIMMI (Fonds Européen de Développement Régional - Plateformes de Recherche et d'Innovation Mutualisées Méditerranée Infection).
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Pires de Souza, G.A., Rolland, C., Nafeh, B. et al. Giant virus-related sequences in the 5300-year-old Ötzi mummy metagenome. Virus Genes 57, 222–227 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11262-021-01823-2
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