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Encyclopedia of Virology
Volume 4, 2021, Pages 407-413

Discovery of Archaeal Viruses in Hot Spring Environments Using Viral Metagenomics

Jennifer Wirth, Jacob H.Munson-McGee, Mark J.Young

Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, United States.


While viruses are ubiquitous with cellular life they have remained an understudied area of environmental biology. Nowhere is this more true than in environments dominated by Archaeal host cells. Viral metagenomics has become an invaluable tool to closing this knowledge gap. New technologies allow for combining viral metagenomics with other culture-independent approaches, such as meta-transcriptomics, single cell genomics, meta-proteomics, and structural studies to gain insight into archaeal virology. Here we discuss the advantages and challenges as well as what we have learned by applying viral metagenomics and other complementary techniques to high-temperature Archaea dominated hot spring environments. With these new tools we are now able to more fully examine the role of viruses in the microbial ecology and evolution in natural systems.

Keywords: Archaea, Archaeal viruses, Next generation sequencing, Single cell genomics, Thermophiles, Viral metagenomics.

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