Global phylogeography and ancient evolution of the widespread human gut virus crAssphage

Edwards, Robert; Vega, Alejabdro; Norman, Holly; Ohaeri, Maria Cynthia; Levi, Kyle; Dinsdale, Elizabeth; Cinek, Ondrej; Trefault, Nicole.; De la Iglesia, Rodrigo; Zambrano, Maria Mercedes; Zschach, Henrike; Dutilh, Bas E.


Microbiomes are vast communities of microbes and viruses that populate all natural ecosystems. Viruses have been considered the most variable component of microbiomes, as supported by virome surveys and examples of high genomic mosaicism. However, recent evidence suggests that the human gut virome is remarkably stable compared to other environments. Here we investigate the origin, evolution, and epidemiology of crAssphage, a widespread human gut virus. Through a global collaboratory, we obtained DNA sequences of crAssphage from over one-third of the world's countries, and showed that its phylogeography is locally clustered within countries, cities, and individuals. We also found colinear crAssphage-like genomes in both Old-World and New-World primates, challenging genomic mosaicism and suggesting that the association of crAssphage with primates may be millions of years old. We conclude that crAssphage is a benign globetrotter virus that may have co-evolved with the human lineage and an integral part of the normal human gut virome.

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Título de la Revista: Nature Microbiology
Volumen: in press
Fecha de publicación: 2019