The genus is distinguished on the basis of genetic characters.
No details are available on the morphology of virions.
Genome (Ng et al., 2015b, Shi et al., 2018, Russo et al., 2018): 7,204–7,400 nt (5′-UTR: 435–487 nt; ORF: 6,699–6,861 nt; 3′-UTR: 52–70 nt). The location of the cre has not been identified.
Genome organization and replication
The deduced polyprotein ranges from 2,233 to 2,287 aa. The function of the L and 2A proteins is unclear. 1AB remains uncleaved. The 1D/2A and 2A/2B cleavage sites are unclear.
No virus has been isolated. Viral RNA has been detected in faecal samples and tissue specimens of Forsten's tortoises (Indotestudo forstenii), Chinese stripe-necked turtles and geckos (Gekko similignum).
Derivation of names
Rafivirus: refers phonetically to Raph(ael), a fictional character in the comic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Species demarcation criteria
Members of a species of genus Rafivirus:
- share a common genome organization
- are less than 30% divergent in the polyprotein aa sequence
- are less than 30% divergent in the P1 aa sequence
- are less than 30% divergent in the 2C + 3CD aa sequence