Evolution: a virus with unrelated new genes (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Friday, February 14, 2020, 14:46 (223 days ago) @ David Turell

Can this virus be part of common descent?:


Here we report the discovery of Yaravirus, a new lineage of amoebal virus with a puzzling origin and phylogeny. Yaravirus presents 80 nm-sized particles and a 44,924 bp dsDNA genome encoding for 74 predicted proteins. More than 90% (68) of Yaravirus predicted genes have never been described before, representing ORFans. Only six genes had distant homologs in public databases: an exonuclease/recombinase, a packaging-ATPase, a bifunctional DNA primase/polymerase and three hypothetical proteins. Furthermore, we were not able to retrieve viral genomes closely related to Yaravirus in 8,535 publicly available metagenomes spanning diverse habitats around the globe. The Yaravirus genome also contained six types of tRNAs that did not match commonly used codons. Proteomics revealed that Yaravirus particles contain 26 viral proteins, one of which potentially representing a novel capsid protein with no significant homology with NCLDV major capsid proteins but with a predicted double-jelly roll domain. Yaravirus expands our knowledge of the diversity of DNA viruses. The phylogenetic distance between Yaravirus and all other viruses highlights our still preliminary assessment of the genomic diversity of eukaryotic viruses, reinforcing the need for the isolation of new viruses of protists.

"Significance statement Most of the known viruses of amoeba have been seen to share many features that eventually prompted authors to classify them into common evolutionary groups. Here we describe Yaravirus, an entity that could represent either the first isolated virus of Acanthamoeba spp. out of the group of NCLDVs or, in alternative evolutive scenario, it is a distant and extremely reduced virus of this group. Contrary to what is observed in other isolated viruses of amoeba, Yaravirus is not represented by a large/giant particle and a complex genome, but at the same time carries an important number of previously undescribed genes, including one encoding a novel major capsid protein. Metagenomic approaches also testified for the rarity of Yaravirus in the environment."

comment: over 90% of genes are entirely new, and the remainder only distantly related to known genes. Where did this come from? Did it invent itself or was it designed. Evolution gets stranger and stranger.

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