Did viruses evolve as a distinct supergroup from common ancestors of cells?

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The evolutionary origins of viruses according tomarker gene phylogenies, as well as their relationships to the ancestors of host cells remains unclear. In a recent article Nasir and Caetano-Anollés 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 phylogeneticmethods 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.


Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • University of Bristol
  • Uppsala universitet, Historiska institutionen
  • Estonian Biocentre

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Bioinformatik och systembiologi


Sidor (från-till)2474-2481
Antal sidor8
TidskriftGenome Biology and Evolution
StatusPublished - 2016
Peer review utfördJa