Circular DNA viruses identified in short-finned pilot whale and orca tissue samples

Kendal Smith, Russell Fielding, Kelsie Schiavone, Katharine R. Hall, Vincent S. Reid, Diallo Boyea, Emma L. Smith, Kara Schmidlin, Rafaela S. Fontenele, Simona Kraberger, Arvind Varsani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Members of the Delphinidae family are widely distributed across the world's oceans. We used a viral metagenomic approach to identify viruses in orca (Orcinus orca) and short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus) muscle, kidney, and liver samples from deceased animals. From orca tissue samples (muscle, kidney, and liver), we identified a novel polyomavirus (Polyomaviridae), three cressdnaviruses, and two genomoviruses (Genomoviridae). In the short-finned pilot whale we were able to identify one genomovirus in a kidney sample. The presence of unclassified cressdnavirus within two samples (muscle and kidney) of the same animal supports the possibility these viruses might be widespread within the animal. The orca polyomavirus identified here is the first of its species and is not closely related to the only other dolphin polyomavirus previously discovered. The identification and verification of these viruses expands the current knowledge of viruses that are associated with the Delphinidae family.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-164
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Cressdnaviricota
  • Gemonoviridae
  • Globicephala macrorhynchus
  • Orcinus orca
  • Polyomaviridae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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