Aquatic virus culture collection: an absent (but necessary) safety net for environmental microbiologists

Nissimov, JI; Campbell, CN; Probert, I; Wilson, WH. 2020 Aquatic virus culture collection: an absent (but necessary) safety net for environmental microbiologists [in special issue: Algal Culture collections in the –omics age] Applied Phycology. 15, pp. https://doi.org/10.1080/26388081.2020.1770123

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Abstract/Summary

Viruses are recognised as the most abundant biological entities on the planet. In addition to their role in disease, they are crucial components of co-evolutionary processes, are instrumental in global biogeochemical pathways such as carbon fluxes and nutrient recycling, and in some cases act regionally on climate processes. Importantly, viruses harbour an enormous, as of yet unexplored genetic and metabolic potential. Some viruses infecting microalgae harbour hundreds of genes, including genes involved in cellular metabolic pathways. Collectively, these attributes have given rise to new fields of research: environmental virology and viral ecology. While traditionally the potential of viruses was recognised by isolating novel viruses into culture and subsequent sequencing of their genomes in the laboratory, advancements in next-generation sequencing technologies now allow for direct sequencing of viral genomes from their natural setting, bypassing the need for culturing. Nevertheless, the lack of associated biological reference material with most of these novel environmental genomes is problematic as there are limitations to what can be achieved with sequence data alone. Where aquatic viruses do exist in culture, they are most often kept privately within research institutes and are not available to the wider research community. Many are thus at risk of being lost because research teams rarely have secure long term resources to ensure continued propagation. Culture collections do exist for medically and agriculturally important viruses causing disease, but collections focusing on viruses infecting aquatic algae and bacteria are non-existent. We therefore highlight here the need for a centralised depository for aquatic viruses and present arguments indicating the benefits such a collection would have for the scientific community of environmental virologists.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Subjects: Aquaculture
Biology
Ecology and Environment
Education
Marine Sciences
Policies
Divisions: Marine Biological Association of the UK > Mechanisms underlying biogeochemical and ecological processes > Viruses
Depositing User: Professor William H Wilson
Date made live: 24 Aug 2020 08:08
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2020 08:08
URI: http://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/9025

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