Megavirus with 1 000 genes found

2011-10-11 17:55

Paris - A virus found in the sea off Chile is the biggest in the world, harbouring more than 1 000 genes, surprised scientists reported on Monday.

The genome of Megavirus chilensis is 6.5% bigger than the DNA code of the previous virus record-holder, Mimivirus, isolated in 2003.

Viruses differ from bacteria in that they are usually far smaller and cannot reproduce on their own, needing to penetrate a host cell in which to replicate.

But M chilensis is such a giant that it surpasses many bacteria in size and is genetically the most complex DNA virus ever described.

It was taken from sea water sample closed to the shore of Las Cruces, Chile. Its host organism is unknown.

DNA viruses include pox viruses and herpes viruses, but M chilensis "doesn't seem to be harmful for humans," said Jean-Michel Claverie, of France's National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).

The study appears in a US journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

  • john_jones - 2011-10-11 18:28

    Wish people would get their facts right. The biggest virus in the world is found in South Africa and comes from the Limpopo area but now inhabits Sandton. This virus we have has more jeans than the Chilean virus. Armani D& G RRL Levi's 7 FAM Diesel Island GAP you name it this virus has it. Our virus infects the minds of young people and lives off the productive section of the South African population. If any scientist want's our virus they can take our virus away and study it as long as they want.

      AquaticApe - 2011-10-11 20:42

      Brilliant! Well done John.

      louis.pienaar1 - 2011-10-11 23:23

      Give this man a Bells!

      Jean du Toit - 2011-10-12 07:22

      Best comment EVER!!!

      Siphiwe Mahlangu - 2011-10-12 08:30

      DUDE You are brilliant

      rascal_gp - 2011-10-12 09:24

      Viva John Jones Veevaah!!!

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