Electrophoretic mobility confirms reassortment bias among geographic isolates of segmented RNA phages.

BMC Evolutionary Biology. 13:206.
Year of Publication: 
S.L. Díaz-Muñoz, O. Tenaillon, D. Goldhill, K. Brao, P.E. Turner, L. Chao.

We generated descendants of Φ6 that exhibited fast and slow mobility during gel electrophoresis. We identified mutations associated with slow and fast phenotypes using whole genome sequencing and used crosses to establish the production of hybrids of intermediate mobility. We documented natural variation in electrophoretic mobility among environmental isolates of cystoviruses and used crosses against a common fast mobility Φ6 strain to monitor the production of hybrids with intermediate mobility, thus estimating the amount of genetic exchange. Cystoviruses from different geographic locations have very different reassortment rates when measured against Φ6, with viruses isolated from California showing higher reassortment rates than those from the Northeastern US.