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Two novel bornaviruses identified in colubrid and viperid snakes

We present the complete genome sequences of Caribbean watersnake bornavirus (CWBV) and Mexican black-tailed rattlesnake bornavirus (MRBV), which we identified in archived raw transcriptomic read data of a Caribbean watersnake (Tretanorhinus variabilis) and a Mexican black-tailed rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus nigrescens), respectively. The genomes of CWBV and MRBV have a length of about 8,900 nucleotides and comprise the complete coding regions and the untranslated regions. The overall genomic makeup and predicted gene content is typical for members of the genus Orthobornavirus within the family Bornaviridae. Alternative splicing was detected for the L and M genes. Based on a phylogenetic analysis of all viral proteins, we consider both viruses to be members of a single novel species within the genus Orthobornavirus. Both viruses form a distinct outgroup to all currently known orthobornaviruses. Based on the novel virus genomes, we furthermore identified closely related endogenous bornavirus-like nucleoprotein sequences in transcriptomic data of veiled chameleons (Chamaeleo calyptratus) and a common lancehead (Bothrops atrox).

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