My name is Peter, I'm a freshman at Gdańsk University of Technology, attending biotechnology course. I aim to connect my career with exploring microbes' potiential in enviromental life support systems.
I have question concerning the possibility for viruses to be represented on the phylogenetic tree.
I wonder if by defining "Virality" as a quality completely seperate from life, we could expand the phylogenetic tree by addition of a new category above Domains, calling it e.g. "Terrain, precisely Vitae Terrain and Virdae Terrain" and mark their connection by making them symmetrical to eachother. That would imply that viruses' genome is depending strongly on the main hosts' genome. The node linking both terrains could be known as "Genome Symmetry Line" and would contain the last universal common ancestor for proto-living and proto-viral organisms, or moment in time which both have appeared. I've included a visual representation of my concept.
For multicelluar organisms, as far as im concerned, this symmetry would be impossible due to occurence of zoonosis, and exceptionally huge difference between the cell types within the multicellular organism. I thought of making animal and plant viruses a special case and using already existing taxonomy systems.
Thank you for the time and i’d appreciate your feedback.
Re: Phylogenetic tree related question
The basis for the classification of viruses by the ICTV is provided in the ICTV Code (https://ictv.global/about/code). See section 3. Rules of Classification and Nomenclature. The ICTV classification is dependent on the determination of common lines of evolutionary descent. Phylogenetic inference, therefore, represents a key method utilized to determine virus relationships. For an excellent description of the principles and outcomes of this process, please see Koonin EV, Dolja VV, Krupovic M, Varsani A, Wolf YI, Yutin N, Zerbini FM, Kuhn JH. Global Organization and Proposed Megataxonomy of the Virus World. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2020 Mar 4;84(2):e00061-19. doi: 10.1128/MMBR.00061-19. PMID: 32132243; PMCID: PMC7062200.
Elliot J. Lefkowitz, Ph.D. | Professor
Department of Microbiology | https://scholars.uab.edu/display/elliotl
Data Secretary | International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses | https://ictv.global/