Honors Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Cody, Sean P. 2019. Evaluation of Chlorella Virus Gene Lineages to Determine Potential Host Range.Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Sean P. Cody 2019.


Chloroviruses were discovered about 35 years ago by Dr. James Van Etten, Russel Meints, and associated colleagues at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. These viruses have large, double stranded DNA genomes and infect unicellular, eukaryotic chlorella-like green algae. Since their discovery and genome cataloging, it has been hypothesized that Chlorovirus genomes (of which there are 41 unique viruses divided among three clades), recapitulate genes from their known hosts. However, recent in-depth analysis of Chlorovirus gene structure revealed a wide variety of genetic diversity amongst the Chloroviruses including genes displayed structural similarity to the Domains of Archaea and Bacteria where previously, host-Chlorovirusinteraction was never posited. There is an implication that horizontal gene transfer may have occurred across these Domains and within Eukaryotic hosts and the Chloroviruses from the data , as all viruses showed significant (defined as having a Bit-score >200) hits within 2 or more Domains of Life. As viruses are not known to cross the Domain barrier, this interaction, if it can be shown to have definitively taken place, could represent a new understanding for both Chlorovirus host diversity and gene exchange, as well as the potential for host-virus diversity in general.