Single-stranded (ss)DNA viruses are extremely widespread, infect diverse hosts from all three domains of life and include important pathogens. Most ssDNA viruses possess small genomes that replicate by the rolling-circle-like mechanism initiated by a distinct virus-encoded endonuclease. High throughput genome sequencing and improved bioinformatics tools have yielded vast information on presence of ssDNA viruses in diverse habitats. The simple genome of ssDNA viruses have high propensity to undergo mutation and recombination often emerging as threat to human civilization. Interestingly their genome is found embedded in fossils dating back to million years. The unusual evolutionary history of ssDNA viruses reveal evidences of horizontal gene transfer, sometimes between different species and genera.
Keywords: CRESS viruses; Rolling circle replication; ssDNA.
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