Caister Academic Press

The Taxonomy of Arboviruses

Nicole C. Arrigo, Scott C. Weaver and Charles H. Calisher
from: Arboviruses: Molecular Biology, Evolution and Control (Edited by: Nikos Vasilakis and Duane J. Gubler). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2016) Pages: 9-30.


The purpose of viral taxonomy, as with all taxonomy, is to categorize viruses in a way that reflects their evolutionary relatedness, and the taxonomy of arboviruses is based on the same principles as that of all other viruses. Arboviruses are considered together only because of their unique biological characteristics and complex natural cycles, and are not collectively a rational taxonomic grouping based on ancestry. Historically, the definition of an arbovirus is a virus transmitted between vertebrate hosts by hematophagous (blood-feeding) arthropods, such as mosquitoes, ticks, sandflies, and culicoids. However, recent findings brought about by remarkable advances and applications of molecular techniques and viral genetics have revealed the presence of "arthropod viruses" (sometimes called "insect-only viruses") within taxa traditionally including arboviruses, causing arbovirologists to reconsider the traditional definition of an arbovirus and to determine how best to organize them into a logical and useful taxonomic framework. Here we present a historical and contemporary perspective of arbovirus taxonomy, and provide a current listing of conventionally defined arboviruses, as well as those "arthropod viruses" currently challenging convention read more ...
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