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Cowpox virus: What’s in a Name?

1
Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
2
Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, P.O. Box 117, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA
3
Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology, Neuherbergstr 11, 80937 Munich, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Eric O. Freed
Viruses 2017, 9(5), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/v9050101
Received: 31 March 2017 / Revised: 3 May 2017 / Accepted: 4 May 2017 / Published: 9 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smallpox and Emerging Zoonotic Orthopoxviruses: What Is Coming Next?)
Traditionally, virus taxonomy relied on phenotypic properties; however, a sequence-based virus taxonomy has become essential since the recent requirement of a species to exhibit monophyly. The species Cowpox virus has failed to meet this requirement, necessitating a reexamination of this species. Here, we report the genomic sequences of nine Cowpox viruses and, by combining them with the available data of 37 additional genomes, confirm polyphyly of Cowpox viruses and find statistical support based on genetic data for more than a dozen species. These results are discussed in light of the current International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses species definition, as well as immediate and future implications for poxvirus taxonomic classification schemes. Data support the recognition of five monophyletic clades of Cowpox viruses as valid species. View Full-Text
Keywords: Cowpox virus; smallpox; Vaccinia virus; poxvirus; phylogenomics; monophyly; polyphyly; species delimitation; taxonomy; misnomers Cowpox virus; smallpox; Vaccinia virus; poxvirus; phylogenomics; monophyly; polyphyly; species delimitation; taxonomy; misnomers
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Mauldin, M.R.; Antwerpen, M.; Emerson, G.L.; Li, Y.; Zoeller, G.; Carroll, D.S.; Meyer, H. Cowpox virus: What’s in a Name? Viruses 2017, 9, 101.

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