Professor Konstantin Severinov co-authored a preprint “Host-associated phages disperse across the extraterrestrial analogue Antarctica” that has been recently released at bioRxiv. The scientists hypothesized that dispersal of host-associated bacteriophages (adsorbed, replicating or prophages) across the Antarctic continent can be tracked via their genetic signatures and benefits our understanding of virus and host dispersal across long distances. The authors reconstructed phage genome fragments from surface snow metagenomes of three Antarctic stations. These fragments were assigned to four host genomes, mainly Betaproteobacteria including Ralstonia spp. The researchers also reconstructed the complete genome of a temperate phage with near-complete alignment to a prophage in the reference genome of Ralstonia pickettii 12D. The results obtained suggest that host-associated phages, especially of Ralstonia sp. disperse over long distances despite harsh conditions of the Antarctic continent. Full text of the preprint is available here.