Until fairly recently, genome-wide evolutionary dynamics and withinhost diversity were more commonly examined in the context of small viruses than in the context of large double-stranded DNA viruses such as herpesviruses. The high mutation rates and more compact genomes of RNA viruses have inspired the investigation of population dynamics for these species, and recent data now suggest that herpesviruses might also be considered candidates for population modeling. Highthroughput sequencing (HTS) and bioinformatics have expanded our understanding of herpesviruses through genome-wide comparisons of sequence diversity, recombination, allele frequency, and selective pressures. Here we discuss recent data on the mechanisms that generate herpesvirus genomic diversity and underlie the evolution of these virus families. We focus on human herpesviruses, with key insights drawn from veterinary herpesviruses and other large DNA virus families. We consider the impacts of cell culture on herpesvirus genomes and how to accurately describe the viral populations under study. The need for a strong foundation of high-quality genomes is also discussed, since it underlies all secondary genomic analyses such as RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq), chromatin immunoprecipitation, and ribosome profiling. Areas where we foresee future progress, such as the linking of viral genetic differences to phenotypic or clinical outcomes, are highlighted as well.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science