Circular replication-associated protein encoding DNA viruses identified in the faecal matter of various animals in New Zealand

Olivia Steel, Simona Kraberger, Alyssa Sikorski, Laura M. Young, Ryan J. Catchpole, Aaron J. Stevens, Jenny J. Ladley, Dorien S. Coray, Daisy Stainton, Anisha Dayaram, Laurel Julian, Katherine van Bysterveldt, Arvind Varsani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


In recent years, innovations in molecular techniques and sequencing technologies have resulted in a rapid expansion in the number of known viral sequences, in particular those with circular replication-associated protein (Rep)-encoding single-stranded (CRESS) DNA genomes. CRESS DNA viruses are present in the virome of many ecosystems and are known to infect a wide range of organisms. A large number of the recently identified CRESS DNA viruses cannot be classified into any known viral families, indicating that the current view of CRESS DNA viral sequence space is greatly underestimated. Animal faecal matter has proven to be a particularly useful source for sampling CRESS DNA viruses in an ecosystem, as it is cost-effective and non-invasive. In this study a viral metagenomic approach was used to explore the diversity of CRESS DNA viruses present in the faeces of domesticated and wild animals in New Zealand. Thirty-eight complete CRESS DNA viral genomes and two circular molecules (that may be defective molecules or single components of multicomponent genomes) were identified from forty-nine individual animal faecal samples. Based on shared genome organisations and sequence similarities, eighteen of the isolates were classified as gemycircularviruses and twelve isolates were classified as smacoviruses. The remaining eight isolates lack significant sequence similarity with any members of known CRESS DNA virus groups. This research adds significantly to our knowledge of CRESS DNA viral diversity in New Zealand, emphasising the prevalence of CRESS DNA viruses in nature, and reinforcing the suggestion that a large proportion of CRESS DNA viruses are yet to be identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-164
Number of pages14
JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Faeces
  • Gemycircularvirus
  • New Zealand
  • Smacovirus
  • ssDNA virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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