The halophilic myohalovirus Halobacterium virus phiH
(ΦH) was first described in 1982 and was isolated from a spontaneously lysed culture of Halobacterium salinarum
strain R1. Until 1994, it was used extensively as a model to study the molecular genetics of haloarchaea, but only parts of the viral genome were sequenced during this period. Using Sanger sequencing combined with high-coverage Illumina sequencing, the full genome sequence of the major variant (phiH1) of this halovirus has been determined. The dsDNA genome is 58,072 bp in length and carries 97 protein-coding genes. We have integrated this information with the previously described transcription mapping data. PhiH could be classified into Myoviridae Type1, Cluster 4 based on capsid assembly and structural proteins (VIRFAM). The closest relative was Natrialba
virus phiCh1 (φCh1), which shared 63% nucleotide identity and displayed a high level of gene synteny. This close relationship was supported by phylogenetic tree reconstructions. The complete sequence of this historically important virus will allow its inclusion in studies of comparative genomics and virus diversity.
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