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Viromes of Freshwater Fish with Lacustrine and Diadromous Life Histories Differ in Composition.


Viruses that infect fish are understudied, yet they provide important evolutionary context to the viruses that infect terrestrial vertebrates. We surveyed gill tissue meta-transcriptomes collected from two species of native freshwater fish from Aotearoa New Zealand—Retropinna retropinna and Gobiomorphus cotidianus. A total of 64 fish were used for gill tissue meta-transcriptomic sequencing, from populations with contrasting life histories—landlocked (i.e., lacustrine) and diadromous—on the South Island and Chatham Islands. We observed that both viral richness and taxonomic diversity were significantly associated with life history and host species, with lacustrine R. retropinna characterised by higher viral alpha diversity than diadromous R. retropinna. Additionally, we observed transcripts of fish viruses from 12 vertebrate host-associated virus families, and phylogenetically placed eight novel RNA viruses and three novel DNA viruses in the Astroviridae, Paramyxoviridae, Orthomyxoviridae, Rhabdoviridae, Totiviridae, Poxviridae, Alloherpesviridae, and Adintoviridae in their evolutionary contexts. These results represent an important survey of the viruses that infect two widespread native fish species in New Zealand, and provide insight useful for future fish virus surveys.

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