Mimivirus – making us think again about virus classification

This article – by one of the discoverers of Mimivirus – argues that the new giant DNA viruses are different from other viruses and that as a result, we neew to create a new brach of microbes. Other virologists are more cautious, suggesting that Mimivirus can fit within the current scheme of virus taxonomy. Either…

Sourced through Scoop.it from: microbiologybytes.wordpress.com

I don’t think that The Big Lads justify a new domain of life: while they may be the largest monophyletic group of viruses with the most ancient provenance, they are not the ONLY monophyletic group.  A good case could be made for caudoviruses (Order Caudovirales) too; the ss(+)RNA viruses are also probably ancient and have a variety of origins – so there is nothing special about Mimi and her cousins, other than they are (so far) the most complex viruses in terms of genome size and encoded content.

They are still most certainly viruses, by all of the best accepted definitions (including mine B-), in that they are still obligate intracellular parasites that do not have a translational apparatus, and which cause particles to be assembled to transport their genomes.

See on Scoop.itVirology News

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