Near-complete genome sequences of seven picornavirus (PV) strains isolated from different terrestrial tortoise species were determined and characterized. The genome organization of the strains proved to be similar and displayed a typical PV layout, and the polyprotein-encoding regions showed low similarity to those of other PVs. The predicted regions of the tortoise PV genomes were related to the corresponding genome parts of viruses belonging to distinct genera, implying modular evolution of these novel viruses. Our results suggest that these tortoise PVs belong to a prototype species in a separate proposed genus in the family Picornaviridae, tentatively called Topivirus (Tortoise picornavirus).
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