Viral metagenomics

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2005 Jun;3(6):504-10. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro1163.


Viruses, most of which infect microorganisms, are the most abundant biological entities on the planet. Identifying and measuring the community dynamics of viruses in the environment is complicated because less than one percent of microbial hosts have been cultivated. Also, there is no single gene that is common to all viral genomes, so total uncultured viral diversity cannot be monitored using approaches analogous to ribosomal DNA profiling. Metagenomic analyses of uncultured viral communities circumvent these limitations and can provide insights into the composition and structure of environmental viral communities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriophages / classification
  • Bacteriophages / genetics
  • Environment
  • Genome, Viral*
  • Genomics*
  • Phylogeny
  • Viruses / classification*
  • Viruses / genetics*