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Molecular Biology and Virology
Research in my lab focuses on the chlorella viruses that infect chlorella-like algae. They are distributed worldwide and many genetically distinct isolates populate a single water sample. Their genome is unusually large. One isolate, PBCV-1, for example, (genome size = 330744 bp dsDNA) codes for ~375 proteins, nearly half of which resemble proteins of known function. The genomes of other chlorella virus isolates are probably co-linear with PBCV-1 and appear to share many, but not all, genes. This suggests that the entire "gene pool" of this genus exceeds the 375 PBCV-1-encoded genes. Many of these genes encode proteins (e.g., enzymes involved in protein glycosylation) rarely associated with viruses.