In research published in the journal Virus Evolution, scientists from Oxford University’s Department of Zoology have revealed that Next-Generation Sequencing and its associated online DNA databases could be used in the field of viral discovery. They have developed algorithms that detect DNA from viruses that happen to be in the blood or tissue sample of the species studied. The research focused on fish genomes as an example, but the method could be used to identify viruses in a range of different species.Next-Generation Sequencing has revolutionised genomics research and is currently used to study and understand genetic material. It allows scientists to gather vast amounts of data, from a single piece of DNA, which is then collated into huge, online, genome databases that are publically accessible.Dr Aris Katzourakis, an Associate Professor, and Dr Amr Aswad, Research Associate at Oxford’s Department of Zoology, initially discovered the new use for the database, by chance. While looking for an ancient herpes virus in primates, they found evidence of two new undocumented viruses.
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