Integrating Viral Metagenomics into an Ecological Framework

Pacifica Sommers, Anushila Chatterjee, Arvind Varsani, Gareth Trubl

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Viral metagenomics has expanded our knowledge of the ecology of uncultured viruses, within both environmental (e.g., terrestrial and aquatic) and host-Associated (e.g., plants and animals, including humans) contexts. Here, we emphasize the implementation of an ecological framework in viral metagenomic studies to address questions in virology rarely considered ecological, which can change our perception of viruses and how they interact with their surroundings. An ecological framework explicitly considers diverse variants of viruses in populations that make up communities of interacting viruses, with ecosystem-level effects. It provides a structure for the study of the diversity, distributions, dynamics, and interactions of viruses with one another, hosts, and the ecosystem, including interactions with abiotic factors. An ecological framework in viral metagenomics stands poised to broadly expand our knowledge in basic and applied virology. We highlight specific fundamental research needs to capitalize on its potential and advance the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-158
Number of pages26
JournalAnnual Review of Virology
StatePublished - Sep 29 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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