Viruses, far from being just parasites affecting hosts’ fitness, are major players in any microbial ecosystem. In spite of their broad abundance, viruses, in particular bacteriophages, remain largely unknown since only about 20% of sequences obtained from viral community DNA surveys could be annotated by comparison with public databases. In order to shed some light into this genetic dark matter we expanded the search of orthologous groups as potential markers to viral taxonomy from bacteriophages and included eukaryotic viruses, establishing a set of 31,150 ViPhOGs (Eukaryotic Viruses and Phages Orthologous Groups). To do this, we examine the non-redundant viral diversity stored in public databases, predict proteins in genomes lacking such information, and used all annotated and predicted proteins to identify potential protein domains. The clustering of domains and unannotated regions into orthologous groups was done using cogSoft. Finally, we employed a random forest implementation to classify genomes into their taxonomy and found that the presence or absence of ViPhOGs is significantly associated with their taxonomy. Furthermore, we established a set of 1457 ViPhOGs that given their importance for the classification could be considered as markers or signatures for the different taxonomic groups defined by the ICTV at the order, family, and genus levels.
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