Evolutionary history of the Coccolithoviridae

Michael J. Allen, Declan C. Schroeder, Matthew T.G. Holden, William H. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


We recently determined the genome sequence of the Coccolithoviridae strain Emiliania huxleyi virus 86 (EhV-86), a giant double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) algal virus from the family Phycodnaviridae that infects the marine coccolithophorid E. huxleyi. Here, we determine the phylogenetic relationship between EhV-86 and other large dsDNA viruses. Twenty-five core genes common to nuclear-cytoplasmic large dsDNA virus genomes were identified in the EhV-86 genome; sequence from eight of these genes were used to create a phylogenetic tree in which EhV-86 was placed firmly with the two other members of the Phycodnaviridae. We have also identified a 100-kb region of the EhV-86 genome which appears to have transferred into this genome from an unknown source. Furthermore, the presence of six RNA polymerase subunits (unique among the Phycodnaviridae) suggests both a unique evolutionary history and a unique lifestyle for this intriguing virus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-92
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular biology and evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Coccolithoviridae
  • Emiliania huxleyi
  • Evolution
  • Phycodnaviridae
  • Virus


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