Most Valuable Paper of The Year 2016

The research paper by Syun-ichi Urayama, Yoshihiro Takaki and Takuro Nunoura titled “FLDS: A Comprehensive dsRNA Sequencing Method for Intracellular RNA Virus Surveillance” (Vol. 31, No. 1, p. 33-40) wins The Most Valuable Paper (MVP) of The Year 2016 in Microbes and Environments!

The MVP of The Year in Microbes and Environments (I like this better), formally called as The M&E Research Paper Award, is annually chosen from all the research papers published in the previous year in Microbes and Environments, by the selection committee of which chair is appointed by the editor-in-chief and members are nominated by the chair.

Throughout the review of the selection committee members as described below, The MVP of The Year 2016 in Microbes and Environments was awarded to the paper by Urayama, Takaki and Nunoura of JAMSTEC, showing development and brief application of a new powerful technique for RNA viruses hidden in various environments.

The selection committee members for 2016 M&E MVP consisted of Hiroyuki Futamata (chair and senior editor, Shizuoka University), Koki Toyota (senior editor, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology), Shinichi Nakano (associate editor, Kyoto University), Nobuhiko Nomura (associate editor, Tsukuba University) and Natsuko Hamamura (associate editor, Kyusyu University).

What is interesting and significant for this paper? The selection committee submitted the formal letter for the reason to me (Ken Takai, editor-in-chief). However, I already expressed a round of applause to this research paper in a Research Highlight article titled as Virologists are “Symbionts” in Microbial Ecology” (Vol. 31, No. 4, p. 367-368). In this article, I introduce the significance of the paper as below:

The newly developed method by Urayama et al. (37), named FLDS, stands for fragmented and loop primer ligated dsRNA sequencing, overcomes one of the substantial technical difficulties in viromic studies: mining viruses lying behind their hosts without any of negative interactions. FLDS is based on the fact that long dsRNA molecules are known to be RNA virus-specific molecules and molecular markers for RNA virus infection and replication (3, 23). The method can enrich non-retro RNA viruses from any of the biological samples and comprehensively identify the full-length genomes of RNA viruses (37). Indeed, a total of 22 full-length genomes of the novel RNA viruses have been identified from only 1 g (wet weight) of diatom community (37). This method is already used for characterizing nonpathogenic RNA virus in insects (20), and will rapidly renew the RNA virus list in various organisms in the future. Even in the rapidly developed areas such as marine and gut viromes, FLDS will catch not only the extracellular but also the intracellular viruses that may be significantly associated with the microbial communities and even the host animals.

Honestly speaking, I predicted in advance that the paper by Urayama et al. would win the 2016 M&E MVP with my keen eye (I am just kidding!). As a colleague of JAMSTEC microbiology research group, I am greatly pleased that the paper by Urayama et al. is awarded the 2016 M&E MVP, and as the editor-in-chief, I greatly appreciate the authors for submission of the excellent research paper to our journal, Microbes and Environments!

The award presentation of this research paper by Dr. Urayama will be given on August 30 in 2017 Joint Conference of the societies for environmental microbiology (JCSEM 2017) held in Sendai, Japan.

Ken Takai, editor-in-chief of Microbes and Environments