Wednesday, December 2

What are Pandoraviruses and Why Some Scientists Doubt They Are Actually Viruses


  • Jose Carlos Cueto
  • BBC World News

Caption,

Pandoraviruses, included within the group of giant viruses, contain many more genes than a normal virus.

When the first pandoravirus was described a few years ago, it was clear to scientists that they were looking at something new.

Pandoraviruses are part of the giant virus family and can be up to 10 times larger than a common virus, even measuring as much or more than other small bacteria.

In addition, they have many more genes. The influenza A virus, for example, has a genome made up of about eight genes. A pandoravirus, such as salinus, can harbor about 2,500.

Investigating giant viruses has discovered surprising things such as that they are often targeted by cannibal viruses, that is, viruses that parasitize other viruses.

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