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Genome of Giant Virus Blurs the Boundary Between Cells and Viruses

NEW YORK, Oct. 18 (GenomeWeb News) - Researchers in Francehave sequenced the genome of Mimivirus, the largest known virus to date, and found it to have unusual properties for a virus.

 

Mimivirus, which was recently isolated from amoebae growing in the water of a cooling tower of a hospital in England, has a 1.2 million base pair genome.

 

The analysis of the genome, published last week in Sciencexpress, revealed that the virus is not entirely dependent on the translation machinery of its host, possessing genes relevant to all key steps of mRNA translation. In addition, it contains an unprecedented number of enzymes and putative metabolic pathways.

 

"The size and complexity of Mimivirus genome challenge the established frontier between viruses and parasitic cellular organisms," the researchers, based at two research institutes in Marseille, write in their article.

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