The unexplored virome of two Atlantic coast fish: contribution of next-generation sequencing to fish virology

Andreia Filipa-Silva, Ricardo Manuel Soares Parreira, Sandra Martínez-Puchol, Sílvia Bofill-Mas, Maria Teresa Barreto Crespo, Mónica Nunes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Much of the knowledge on viruses is focused on those that can be propagated using cell-cultures or that can cause disease in humans or in economically important animals and plants. However, this only reflects a small portion of the virosphere. Therefore, in this study, we explore by targeted next-generation sequencing, how the virome varies between Atlantic horse mackerels and gilthead seabreams from fisheries and aquaculture from the center and south regions of Portugal. Viral genomes potentially pathogenic to fish and crustaceans, as well as to humans, were identified namelyese included Astroviridae, Nodaviridae, Hepadnaviridae, Birnaviridae, Caliciviridae, and Picornaviridae families. Also bacteriophages sequences were identified corresponding to the majority of sequencese detected, with Myoviridae, Podoviridae, and Siphoviridae, the most widespread families in both fish species. However, these findings can also be due to the presence of bacteria in fish tissues, or even to contamination. Overall, seabreams harbored viruses from a smaller number of families in comparison with mackerels. Therefore, the obtained data show that fish sold for consumption can harbor a high diversity of viruses, many of which are unknown, reflecting the overall uncharacterized virome of fish. While cross-species transmission of bonafide fish viruses to humans is unlikely, the finding of human pathogenic viruses in fish suggest that fish virome can be a potential threat regarding food safety.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9111634
Pages (from-to)1634-1652
Number of pages18
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2020


  • Virome diversity
  • Metagenomics
  • Atlantic horse mackerel
  • Gilthead seabream
  • Health-threat


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