The promiscuous evolutionary history of the family Bromoviridae

J Gen Virol. 2008 Jul;89(Pt 7):1739-1747. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.2008/000166-0.


Recombination and segment reassortment are important contributors to the standing genetic variation of RNA viruses and are often involved in the genesis of new, emerging viruses. This study explored the role played by these two processes in the evolutionary radiation of the plant virus family Bromoviridae. The evolutionary history of this family has been explored previously using standard molecular phylogenetic methods, but incongruences have been found among the trees inferred from different gene sequences. This would not be surprising if RNA exchange was a common event, as it is well known that recombination and reassortment of genomes are poorly described by standard phylogenetic methods. In an attempt to reconcile these discrepancies, this study first explored the extent of segment reassortment and found that it was common at the origin of the bromoviruses and cucumoviruses and at least at the origin of alfalfa mosaic virus, American plum line pattern virus and citrus leaf rugose virus. Secondly, recombination analyses were performed on each of the three genomic RNAs and it was found that recombination was very common in members of the genera Bromovirus, Cucumovirus and Ilarvirus. Several cases of recombination involving species from different genera were also identified. Finally, a phylogenetic network was constructed reflecting these genetic exchanges. The network confirmed the taxonomic status of the different genera within the family, despite the phylogenetic noise introduced by genetic exchange.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bromoviridae / genetics*
  • Computational Biology
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genomics
  • Phylogeny
  • Reassortant Viruses / genetics*
  • Recombination, Genetic*