Aquatic viral metagenomics: lights and shadows.

Viruses are the most abundant biological entities on Earth, exceeding bacteria in most of the ecosystems. Specially in oceans, viruses are thought to be the major planktonic predators shaping microorganism communities and controlling ocean biological capacity. Plankton lysis by viruses plays an important role in ocean nutrient and energy cycles. Viral metagenomics has emerged as a powerful tool to uncover viral diversity in aquatic ecosystems through the use of Next Generation Sequencing. However, many of the commonly used viral sample preparation steps have several important biases that must be considered to avoid a misinterpretation of the results. In addition to biases caused by the purification of virus particles, viral DNA/RNA amplification and the preparation of genomic libraries could also introduce biases, and a detailed knowledge about such protocols is required. In this review, the main steps in the viral metagenomic workflow are described paying special attention to the potential biases introduced by each one.

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