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A taxonomy update for the family Polyomaviridae

Calvignac-Spencer, Sébastien, Feltkamp, Mariet C. W., Daugherty, Matthew D., Moens, Ugo, Ramqvist, Torbjörn, Johne, Reimar, Ehlers, Bernhard
Archives of virology 2016 v.161 no.6 pp. 1739-1750
Polyomaviridae, antigens, hosts, nucleotide sequences, taxonomy, vertebrates, viruses
Many distinct polyomaviruses infecting a variety of vertebrate hosts have recently been discovered, and their complete genome sequence could often be determined. To accommodate this fast-growing diversity, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) Polyomaviridae Study Group designed a host- and sequence-based rationale for an updated taxonomy of the family Polyomaviridae. Applying this resulted in numerous recommendations of taxonomical revisions, which were accepted by the Executive Committee of the ICTV in December 2015. New criteria for definition and creation of polyomavirus species were established that were based on the observed distance between large T antigen coding sequences. Four genera (Alpha-, Beta, Gamma- and Deltapolyomavirus) were delineated that together include 73 species. Species naming was made as systematic as possible – most species names now consist of the binomial name of the host species followed by polyomavirus and a number reflecting the order of discovery. It is hoped that this important update of the family taxonomy will serve as a stable basis for future taxonomical developments.