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Marseillevirus -- A New Member of the Giant Viruses

After Mimivirus, Mamavirus and the virophage, the group of giant viruses now has a new member called Marseillevirus.

Discovered in an amoeba by the team led by Didier Raoult at the Unité de Recherche sur les Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Emergentes research group (CNRS/Université Aix-Marseille 2), a description of this new virus was published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). These findings suggest the exchange of genes in amoebae that may lead to the constitution of different gene repertoires that could be a source of new pathogens.

Amoebae are single-cell, eukaryote (possessing a nucleus) living organisms, some of which are human or animal parasites and may cause a variety of pathologies. Most amoebae live in water, damp soils or mosses. They are mobile and capable of ingesting a wide variety of different organisms (for example, viruses or bacteria with extraordinarily broadly ranging sizes and lifestyles). Thus amoebae provide a site for numerous exchanges of genetic material arising from the many organisms that "colonize" them

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