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Did Viruses Evolve As a Distinct Supergroup from Common Ancestors of Cells?
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Structure and Molecular Biology.
Estonian Bioctr, Riia 23, EE-51010 Tartu, Estonia..
Univ Bristol, Computat Genom Grp, Dept Comp Sci, Merchant Venturers Bldg, Bristol BS8 1TH, Avon, England..
Lund Univ, Microbial Ecol, Dept Biol, S-22100 Lund, Sweden..
2016 (English)In: Genome Biology and Evolution, ISSN 1759-6653, E-ISSN 1759-6653, Vol. 8, no 8, 2474-2481 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The evolutionary origins of viruses according to marker gene phylogenies, as well as their relationships to the ancestors of host cells remains unclear. In a recent article Nasir and Caetano-Anolles reported that their genome-scale phylogenetic analyses based on genomic composition of protein structural-domains identify an ancient origin of the "viral supergroup" (Nasir et al. 2015. A phylogenomic data-driven exploration of viral origins and evolution. Sci Adv. 1(8):e1500527.). It suggests that viruses and host cells evolved independently from a universal common ancestor. Examination of their data and phylogenetic methods indicates that systematic errors likely affected the results. Reanalysis of the data with additional tests shows that small-genome attraction artifacts distort their phylogenomic analyses, particularly the location of the root of the phylogenetic tree of life that is central to their conclusions. These new results indicate that their suggestion of a distinct ancestry of the viral supergroup is not well supported by the evidence.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 8, no 8, 2474-2481 p.
Keyword [en]
tree of life, origins of viruses, systematic error, rooting artifact, small genome attraction, homoplasy
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-304418DOI: 10.1093/gbe/evw175ISI: 000382523500018PubMedID: 27497315OAI: diva2:1033144
Swedish Research CouncilKnut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation
Available from: 2016-10-05 Created: 2016-10-05 Last updated: 2016-10-05Bibliographically approved

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