1. Laboratory for Biotechnological Crop Protection, Department of Phytopathology, Agricultural Service Center Palatinate DLR Rheinpfalz, Breitenweg 71, 67435 Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Germany 2. Plant, Soil and Insect Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA
Nudiviruses represent a diverse group of arthropod specific, rod-shaped and dsDNA viruses. Due to similarities in pathology and morphology to members of the family Baculoviridae, they have been previously classified as the so-called “non-occluded” baculoviruses. However, presently they are taxonomically orphaned and are not assigned to any virus family because of the lack of genetic relatedness to Baculoviridae,. Here, we report on recent progress in the genomic analysis of Heliothis zea nudivirus 1 (HzNV-1), Oryctes rhinoceros nudivirus (OrNV), Gryllus bimaculatus nudivirus (GbNV) and Heliotis zea nudivirus 2 (HzNV-2). Gene content comparison and phylogenetic analyses indicated that the viruses share 15 core genes with baculoviruses and form a monophyletic sister group to them. Consequences of the genetic relationship are discussed for the classification of nudiviruses.