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The genomes of numerous circoviruses and distantly related circular ssDNA viruses encoding a rolling circle replication initiator protein (Rep) have been characterized from the tissues of mammals, fish, insects, plants (geminivirus and nanovirus), in human and animal feces, in an algae cell, and in diverse environmental samples. We review the genome organization, phylogenetic relationships and initial prevalence studies of cycloviruses, a proposed new genus in the Circoviridae family. Viral fossil rep sequences were also recently identified integrated on the chromosomes of mammals, frogs, lancelets, crustaceans, mites, gastropods, roundworms, placozoans, hydrozoans, protozoans, land plants, fungi, algae, and phytoplasma bacterias and their plasmids, reflecting the very wide past host range of rep bearing viruses. An ancient origin for viruses with Rep-encoding small circular ssDNA genomes, predating the diversification of eukaryotes, is discussed. The cellular hosts and pathogenicity of many recently described rep-containing circular ssDNA genomes remain to be determined. Future studies of the virome of single cell and multi-cellular eukaryotes are likely to further extend the known diversity and host-range of small rep-containing circular ssDNA viral genomes. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Eric Delwart, Linlin Li. Rapidly expanding genetic diversity and host range of the Circoviridae viral family and other Rep encoding small circular ssDNA genomes. Virus research. 2012 Mar;164(1-2):114-21

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PMID: 22155583

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