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Open Access Commentary

The origins of giant viruses, virophages and their relatives in host genomes

Aris Katzourakis* and Amr Aswad

Author Affiliations

Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK

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BMC Biology 2014, 12:51  doi:10.1186/s12915-014-0051-y

Published: 30 June 2014


Giant viruses have revealed a number of surprises that challenge conventions on what constitutes a virus. The Samba virus newly isolated in Brazil expands the known distribution of giant mimiviruses to a near-global scale. These viruses, together with the transposon-related virophages that infect them, pose a number of questions about their evolutionary origins that need to be considered in the light of the complex entanglement between host, virus and virophage genomes.

See research article: webcite.