Circoviruses and cycloviruses identified in Weddell seal fecal samples from McMurdo Sound, Antarctica

Quinn M. Patterson, Simona Kraberger, Darren P. Martin, Michelle R. Shero, Roxanne S. Beltran, Amy L. Kirkham, Maketalena Aleamotu'a, David G. Ainley, Stacy Kim, Jennifer M. Burns, Arvind Varsani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Circoviridae is a family of circular single-stranded DNA viruses whose members infect a wide variety of hosts. While well characterized in avian and mammalian hosts, little is known about circoviruses associated with Antarctic animals. From 48 Weddell seal (Leptonychotes weddellii) fecal samples collected on the sea ice in McMurdo between Nov 2014 and Dec 2014, we identified and determined the genomes of novel viruses that fall within two genera of the family Circoviridae, i.e. Circovirus (n = 7) and Cyclovirus (n = 45). We named these viruses as werosea circovirus (WerCV) and werosea cyclovirus (WerCyV). The genomes of WerCV and WerCyV share ~63–64% genome-wide pairwise identity with classified circoviruses and cycloviruses, respectively. Based on the species demarcation threshold of 80% for members of the Circoviridae, the genomes of WerCV and WerCyV represent new species in their respective genera. Evidence indicated recombination in five of the 45 WerCyV genomes identified in this study. These are the first circoviruses found associated with Antarctic pinnipeds, adding to those recently identified associated with Adélie (Pygoscelis adeliae) and chinstrap penguins (P. antarcticus).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105070
JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Circoviridae
  • Pinnipeds
  • Weddell seals
  • ssDNA virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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