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Assessing viral taxonomic composition in benthic marine ecosystems: reliability and efficiency of different bioinformatic tools for viral metagenomic analyses
Tangherlini, M.; Dell'Anno, A.; Zeigler Allen, L.; Riccioni, G.; Corinaldesi, C. (2016). Assessing viral taxonomic composition in benthic marine ecosystems: reliability and efficiency of different bioinformatic tools for viral metagenomic analyses. NPG Scientific Reports 6(28428): 10 pp. hdl.handle.net/10.1038/srep28428
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Tangherlini, M.
  • Dell'Anno, A.
  • Zeigler Allen, L.
  • Riccioni, G.
  • Corinaldesi, C.

Abstract
    In benthic deep-sea ecosystems, which represent the largest biome on Earth, viruses have a recognised key ecological role, but their diversity is still largely unknown. Identifying the taxonomic composition of viruses is crucial for understanding virus-host interactions, their role in food web functioning and evolutionary processes. Here, we compared the performance of various bioinformatic tools (BLAST, MG-RAST, NBC, VMGAP, MetaVir, VIROME) for analysing the viral taxonomic composition in simulated viromes and viral metagenomes from different benthic deep-sea ecosystems. The analyses of simulated viromes indicate that all the BLAST tools, followed by MetaVir and VMGAP, are more reliable in the affiliation of viral sequences and strains. When analysing the environmental viromes, tBLASTx, MetaVir, VMGAP and VIROME showed a similar efficiency of sequence annotation; however, MetaVir and tBLASTx identified a higher number of viral strains. These latter tools also identified a wider range of viral families than the others, providing a wider view of viral taxonomic diversity in benthic deep-sea ecosystems. Our findings highlight strengths and weaknesses of available bioinformatic tools for investigating the taxonomic diversity of viruses in benthic ecosystems in order to improve our comprehension of viral diversity in the oceans and its relationships with host diversity and ecosystem functioning.

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