Redefining the invertebrate RNA virosphere

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

384 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations


  • Mang Shi
  • Xian-Dan Lin
  • Jun-Hua Tian
  • Liang-Jun Chen
  • Xiao Chen
  • Ci-Xiu Li
  • Xin-Cheng Qin
  • Jian-Ping Cao
  • John-Sebastian Eden
  • Jan Buchmann
  • Wen Wang
  • Jianguo Xu
  • Edward C. Holmes
  • Yong-Zhen Zhang


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-543
Journal / PublicationNature
Online published23 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


Current knowledge of RNA virus biodiversity is both biased and fragmentary, reflecting a focus on culturable or disease-causing agents. Here we profile the transcriptomes of over 220 invertebrate species sampled across nine animal phyla and report the discovery of 1,445 RNA viruses, including some that are sufficiently divergent to comprise new families. The identified viruses fill major gaps in the RNA virus phylogeny and reveal an evolutionary history that is characterized by both host switching and co-divergence. The invertebrate virome also reveals remarkable genomic flexibility that includes frequent recombination, lateral gene transfer among viruses and hosts, gene gain and loss, and complex genomic rearrangements. Together, these data present a view of the RNA virosphere that is more phylogenetically and genomically diverse than that depicted in current classification schemes and provide a more solid foundation for studies in virus ecology and evolution.

Citation Format(s)

Redefining the invertebrate RNA virosphere. / Shi, Mang; Lin, Xian-Dan; Tian, Jun-Hua; Chen, Liang-Jun; Chen, Xiao; Li, Ci-Xiu; Qin, Xin-Cheng; Li, Jun; Cao, Jian-Ping; Eden, John-Sebastian; Buchmann, Jan; Wang, Wen; Xu, Jianguo; Holmes, Edward C.; Zhang, Yong-Zhen.

In: Nature, Vol. 540, 22.12.2016, p. 539-543.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal