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Metagenomic characterization of the viral community of the South Scotia Ridge
Viruses are the most abundant biological entities in aquatic ecosystems and harbor an enormous genetic diversity. While their great influence on the marine ecosystems is widely acknowledged, current information about their diversity remains scarce. A viral metagenomic analysis of two surfaces and one bottom water sample was conducted from sites on the South Scotia Ridge (SSR) near the Antarctic Peninsula, during the austral summer 2016. The taxonomic composition and diversity of the viral communities were investigated and a functional assessment of the sequences was determined. Phylotypic analysis showed that most viruses belonging to the order Caudovirales, in particular, the family Podoviridae (41.92-48.7%), which is similar to the viral communities from the Pacific Ocean. Functional analysis revealed a relatively high frequency of phage-associated and metabolism genes. Phylogenetic analyses of phage TerL and Capsid_NCLDV (nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses) marker genes indicated that many of the sequences associated with Caudovirales and NCLDV were novel and distinct from known complete phage genomes. High Phaeocystis globosa virus virophage (Pgvv) signatures were found in SSR area and complete and partial Pgvv-like were obtained which may have an influence on host-virus interactions in the area during summer. Our study expands the existing knowledge of viral communities and their diversities from the Antarctic region and provides basic data for further exploring polar microbiomes.
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