V-table is a new approach in understanding viral diversity connecting taxonomy, molecular characteristics and phylogeny of viruses in one interactive table.
Viruses infect all cellular organisms and even parasitize on other viruses replicating within a host cell. They differ by folds in terms of genome and capsid size. Taxonomy of viruses should reflect their phylogenetic relationships and molecular characteristics, but it is complicated by the fact that viruses do not share a single gene.
Viral families currently represent the highest level of virus taxonomy, covering most of virus species recognized by International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. Each viral family has its unique set of characteristics of genome, capsid and host. Therefore, we use a card of viral family as informational unit of V-table.
V-table is an educational tool to improve effectiveness of learning virology by providing information on fundamental characteristics of every viral family at a glance. It contains information on 122 viral families and 26 free-floating genera and provides a structured overview on a viral world. The advanced search allows you to find and compare viruses by any of their characteristics or sets of them.
The structure of V-table is based on placement of viruses with similar sets of characteristics near each other. It facilitates learning and allows further constructing of the inner structure of V-table to reflect phylogenetic relationship between taxonomic units on every level.
The spherical shape of V-table provides possibility for adding new cards to adapt to a constantly growing number of new viral taxa.
Empty sections on a sphere indicate that, there are no known viruses with this particular type of genome for this host group. (In some cases it means, such viruses may be discovered in the future, or existed in the past; in other cases, combination of particular type of genome and host is highly unlikely to exist.)
Empty cards reflect higher abundance and/or diversity of viral families of particular type of genome within the other host group.
Select sectors to explore diversity and compare viral families related by type of genome and/or host.
Select individual cards to learn and compare viral families not related by type of genome or host.
Play with characteristics in advanced search to see which viruses are the biggest and the smallest and find out more interesting trends in a world of viruses.
V-table is a fun, interactive way to explore viral biodiversity. Beginners and experts alike will love it!
We used V-table in class last week while discussing the diversity of viral genome and host types. My students really liked the graphics and the multiple different ways of sorting and filtering the viruses. They also loved that the virus descriptions at the bottom looked like elements in the periodic table. The only question/request that came up was whether the individual squares of different viruses were supposed to (or were able to) link to anything, such as ViralZone or the ICTV taxonomy.
Thanks for providing this great tool, we really enjoyed it!