A thorough characterization of the genetic diversity of viruses present in vector and vertebrate host populations is essential for the early detection of and response to emerging pathogenic viruses, yet genetic characterization of many important viral groups remains incomplete. The Simbu serogroup of the genus Orthobunyavirus, family Bunyaviridae, is an example. The Simbu serogroup currently consists of a highly diverse group of related arboviruses that infect both humans and economically important livestock species. Here, we report complete genome sequences for 11 viruses within this group, with a focus on the large and poorly characterized Manzanilla and Oropouche species complexes. Phylogenetic and pairwise divergence analyses indicated the presence of high levels of genetic diversity within these two species complexes, on a par with that seen among the five other species complexes in the Simbu serogroup. Based on previously reported divergence thresholds between species, the data suggested that these two complexes should actually be divided into at least five species. Together these five species formed a distinct phylogenetic clade apart from the rest of the Simbu serogroup. Pairwise sequence divergences among viruses of this clade and viruses in other Simbu serogroup species complexes were similar to levels of divergence among the other orthobunyavirus serogroups. The genetic data also suggested relatively high levels of natural reassortment, with three potential reassortment events present, including two well-supported events involving viruses known to infect humans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas