Next-generation sequencing was used for discovery and de novo assembly of a novel, highly divergent DNA virus at the interface between the Parvoviridae and Circoviridae. The virus, provisionally named parvovirus-like hybrid virus (PHV), is nearly identical by sequence to another DNA virus, NIH-CQV, previously detected in Chinese patients with seronegative (non-A-E) hepatitis. Although we initially detected PHV in a wide range of clinical samples, with all strains sharing ~99% nucleotide and amino acid identity with each other and with NIH-CQV, the exact origin of the virus was eventually traced to contaminated silica-binding spin columns used for nucleic acid extraction. Definitive confirmation of the origin of PHV, and presumably NIH-CQV, was obtained by in-depth analyses of water eluted through contaminated spin columns. Analysis of environmental metagenome libraries detected PHV sequences in coastal marine waters of North America, suggesting that a potential association between PHV and diatoms (algae) that generate the silica matrix used in the spin columns may have resulted in inadvertent viral contamination during manufacture. The confirmation of PHV/NIH-CQV as laboratory reagent contaminants and not bona fide infectious agents of humans underscores the rigorous approach needed to establish the validity of new viral genomes discovered by nextgeneration sequencing.
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