Cross-roads in the classification of papillomaviruses

Virology. 2013 Oct;445(1-2):2-10. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2013.04.023. Epub 2013 May 16.


Acceptance of an official classification for the family Papillomaviridae based purely on DNA sequence relatedness, was achieved as late as 2003. The rate of isolation and characterization of new papillomavirus types has greatly depended on and subjected to the development of new laboratory techniques. Introduction of every new technique led to a temporarily burst in the number of new isolates. In the following, the bumpy road towards achieving a classification system combined with the controversies of implementing and accepting new techniques will be summarized. An update of the classification of the 170 human papillomavirus (HPV) types presently known is presented. Arguments towards the implementation of metagenomic sequencing for this rapidly growing family will be presented.

Keywords: Classification; Human; Metagenomics; Papillomaviruses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Genome, Viral*
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Metagenomics
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Papillomaviridae / classification*
  • Papillomaviridae / genetics
  • Papillomaviridae / isolation & purification
  • Phylogeny*


  • DNA, Viral