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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009 Jun;75(11):3634-40. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02317-08. Epub 2009 Apr 10.

Phylogenetic analysis indicates evolutionary diversity and environmental segregation of marine podovirus DNA polymerase gene sequences.

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  • 1Departments of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


The distribution of viral genotypes in the ocean and their evolutionary relatedness remain poorly constrained. This paper presents data on the genetic diversity and evolutionary relationships of 1.2-kb DNA polymerase (pol) gene fragments from podoviruses. A newly designed set of PCR primers was used to amplify DNA directly from coastal sediment and water samples collected from inlets adjacent to the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia, Canada, and from the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of 160 cloned PCR products revealed 29 distinct operational taxonomic units (OTUs), with OTUs within a site typically being more similar than those among sites. Phylogenetic analysis of the DNA pol gene fragments demonstrated high similarity between some environmental sequences and sequences from the marine podoviruses roseophage SIO1 and cyanophage P60, while others were not closely related to sequences from cultured phages. Interrogation of the CAMERA database for sequences from metagenomics data demonstrated that the amplified sequences were representative of the diversity of podovirus pol sequences found in marine samples. Our results indicate high genetic diversity within marine podovirus communities within a small geographic region and demonstrate that the diversity of environmental polymerase gene sequences for podoviruses is far more extensive than previously recognized.

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