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n. The genomes of all the viruses that inhabit a particular organism or environment


Virome refers to the collection of nucleic acids, both RNA and DNA, that make up the viral community associated with a particular ecosystem or holobiont. The word is derived from virus and genome and first used by Forest Rohwer and colleagues to describe viral shotgun metagenomes. All macro-organisms have viromes that include bacteriophage and viruses, including humans. Viromes are important in the nutrient and energy cycling, development of immunity, and a major source of genes through lysogenic conversion.

In order to study the virome, virus-like particles are separated from cellular components, usually using a combination of filtration, density centrifugation, and enzymatic treatments to get rid of free nucleic acids. The nucleic acids are then sequenced and analyzed using metgenomic methods.