Author's School

Arts & Sciences

Author's Department

Biology

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-2015

Originally Published In

Pope WH, Bowman CA, Russell DA, et al. Whole genome comparison of a large collection of mycobacteriophages reveals a continuum of phage genetic diversity. Elife. 2015;4:e06416. doi:10.7554/eLife.06416

Abstract

The bacteriophage population is large, dynamic, ancient, and genetically diverse. Limited genomic information shows that phage genomes are mosaic, and the genetic architecture of phage populations remains ill-defined. To understand the population structure of phages infecting a single host strain, we isolated, sequenced, and compared 627 phages of Mycobacterium smegmatis. Their genetic diversity is considerable, and there are 28 distinct genomic types (clusters) with related nucleotide sequences. However, amino acid sequence comparisons show pervasive genomic mosaicism, and quantification of inter-cluster and intra-cluster relatedness reveals a continuum of genetic diversity, albeit with uneven representation of different phages. Furthermore, rarefaction analysis shows that the mycobacteriophage population is not closed, and there is a constant influx of genes from other sources. Phage isolation and analysis was performed by a large consortium of academic institutions, illustrating the substantial benefits of a disseminated, structured program involving large numbers of freshman undergraduates in scientific discovery. Keywords: bacteriophage; evolution; evolutionary biology; genomics; infectious disease; microbiology; viruses.

Comments

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

ORCID

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5176-2510 [Elgin]

DOI

10.7554/eLife.06416

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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Biology Commons

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