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Members of the subfamily Betairidovirinae have larger virions than vertebrate iridoviruses and often display fiber-like extensions to the capsid. They also generally have larger genomes that have a lower G+C content, lack the extensive cytosine methylation seen among vertebrate iridoviruses, and mainly infect invertebrate hosts. Although they infect a wide range of agricultural pests and medically-important insects such as mosquitoes, their study has, by and large, been neglected and important information regarding host range, number of viral species, and replication strategy is incomplete (Williams and Ward 2010, Williams et al., 2016).
Historically members of the two genera were distinguished by virion size and the iridescent color of infected insects and purified virus stocks. Given increasing numbers of fully sequenced viral genomes within this subfamily, membership within, and composition of, the two genera will likely require revision as phylogenetic analysis (Figure 6.Iridoviridae) suggests alternative interpretations.
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