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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

IS THE MYRISTILATED MEMBRANE PROTEIN OF RANAVIRUSES AN ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATIVE FOR PHYLOGENETIC ANALYSIS?**

Abstract

Ranaviruses are globally distributed emerging infections of ectothermic and poikilothermic vertebrates. They are responsible for countless morbidity and mortality events around the globe, and they are known to affect several endangered species. Therefore, understanding the evolutionary relationships between different strains of Ranavirus becomes important if we are to predict the consequences of their emergence. Past best practice for classifying different Ranavirus isolates has mainly been based on the major capsid protein (MCP), which is a highly conserved gene. However, this approach does not appear to capture the full sequence diversity of isolates. Twenty-six core genes have been identified for ranaviruses, some of which may better demonstrate the true phylogentic relationships between different isolates. Here, we use the myristilated membrane protein (open reading frame 2L in Frog virus 3; MMP) as an alternative to the MCP gene for constructing Ranavirus evolutionary trees. We will compare trees obtained using full length genomes, only the MCP gene sequences, and only the MMP gene sequences. Trees will be built using the Neighbor-Joining method (1000 Bootstraps) and an appropriate nucleotide substitution model in MEGA 6. Trees will then be compared visually for similarities and differences.

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