Scientists have discovered a new family of giant viruses -- created within amoebae, they linkurl:report; in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Structural analysis of giant virus
Image: Xiao C, Kuznetsov YG, Sun S, Hafenstein
SL, Kostyuchenko VA, et al. (2009)
The new virus type is uniquely comprised of genes from a variety of origins, including bacteria, eukaryotes and viruses. Amoebae are not an uncommon source of viruses, since their insides are melting pots of viruses and other organisms, allowing viruses to grow into so-called "giants" by adopting genes from other organisms within the amoebae. "Researchers have recognized the potential of amoebae as a source of new viruses for a while," said linkurl:Patrick Forterre,; a microbiologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France, who was not involved with the study. "But [this paper] is the first real confirmation that [other giant viruses found...
Acanthamoeba polyphaga

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?