Send to

Choose Destination
Nature. 2016 Dec 22;540(7634):539-543. doi: 10.1038/nature20167. Epub 2016 Nov 23.

Redefining the invertebrate RNA virosphere.

Author information

State Key Laboratory for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, Collaborative Innovation Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Changping, 100206 Beijing, China.
Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, Charles Perkins Centre, School of Life and Environmental Sciences and Sydney Medical School, the University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia.
Wenzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Wenzhou, 325001 Zhejiang, China.
Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Wuhan, 430015 Hubei, China.
Guangxi Mangrove Research Center, Beihai, 536000 Guangxi, China.
Systems Biology and Bioinformatics Group, School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Sciences, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.
National Institute of Parasitic Diseases, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Shanghai, China.


Current knowledge of RNA virus biodiversity is both biased and fragmentary, reflecting a focus on culturable or disease-causing agents. Here we profile the transcriptomes of over 220 invertebrate species sampled across nine animal phyla and report the discovery of 1,445 RNA viruses, including some that are sufficiently divergent to comprise new families. The identified viruses fill major gaps in the RNA virus phylogeny and reveal an evolutionary history that is characterized by both host switching and co-divergence. The invertebrate virome also reveals remarkable genomic flexibility that includes frequent recombination, lateral gene transfer among viruses and hosts, gene gain and loss, and complex genomic rearrangements. Together, these data present a view of the RNA virosphere that is more phylogenetically and genomically diverse than that depicted in current classification schemes and provide a more solid foundation for studies in virus ecology and evolution.


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center