Scientists have discovered a new family of giant viruses -- created within amoebae, they linkurl:report;http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0911354106 in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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,;http://www.pasteur.fr/ip/easysite/go/03b-00002i-01l/recherche/departements-scientifiques/microbiologie/unites-et-groupes/unite-de-biologie-moleculaire-du-gene-chez-les-extremophiles/les-membres-de-l-equipe/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...
Image: Xiao C, Kuznetsov YG, Sun S, Hafenstein
SL, Kostyuchenko VA, et al. (2009)
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