Alphaherpesviruses, as large double-stranded DNA viruses, were long considered to be genetically stable and to exist in a homogeneous state. Recently, the proliferation of high-throughput sequencing (HTS) and bioinformatics analysis has expanded our understanding of herpesvirus genomes and the variations found therein. Recent data indicate that herpesviruses exist as diverse populations, both in culture and in vivo, in a manner reminiscent of RNA viruses. In this review, we discuss the past, present, and potential future of alphaherpesvirus genomics, including the technical challenges that face the field. We also review how recent data has enabled genome-wide comparisons of sequence diversity, recombination, allele frequency, and selective pressures, including those introduced by cell culture. While we focus on the human alphaherpesviruses, we draw key insights from related veterinary species and from the beta-and gamma-subfamilies of herpesviruses. Promising technologies and potential future directions for herpesvirus genomics are highlighted as well, including the potential to link viral genetic differences to phenotypic and disease outcomes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Microbiology (medical)