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Novel Rhabdovirus and an almost complete drain fly transcriptome recovered from two independent contaminations of clinical samples.

By Francisco Brito, Mosè Manni, Florian Laubscher, Manuel Schibler, Mary-Anne Hartley, Kristina Keitel, Tarsis Mlaganile, Valerie d’Acremont, Samuel Cordey, Laurent Kaiser, Evgeny M Zdobnov

Posted 23 May 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/645325

Metagenomic approaches enable an open exploration of microbial communities without requiring a priori knowledge of a sample's composition by shotgun sequencing the total RNA or DNA of the sample. Such an approach is valuable for exploratory diagnostics of novel pathogens in clinical practice. Yet, one may also identify surprising off-target findings. Here we report a mostly complete transcriptome from a drain fly (likely Psychoda alternata) as well as a novel Rhabdovirus-like virus recovered from two independent contaminations of RNA sequencing libraries from clinical samples of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) and serum, out of a total of 724 libraries sequenced at the same laboratory during a 2-year time span. This drain fly genome shows a considerable divergence from previously sequenced insects, which may obscure common clinical metagenomic analyses not expecting such contaminations. The classification of these contaminant sequences allowed us to identify infected drain flies as the likely origin of the novel Rhabdovirus-like sequence, which could have been erroneously linked to human pathology, had they been ignored.

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