The new virus is so large that it is blurring the lines between what is a virus and what is a life form.
Up until now the largest known virus was the mimivirus which was discovered ten years ago. The new pandovirus however is twice as large again and is visible using a light microscope. With each virus containing as many as 2,500 genes the pandovirus is quite unlike anything seen before.
"We were prepared to find new viruses in the 1,000-gene range, but not to more than double that figure," said research director Chantal Abergel. "This really indicates than we don't know what are the possible limits anymore."
"Giant viruses, more than twice as big as the last largest known viruses, have now been unearthed from sludge across the world, researchers say."
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Source: Discovery News
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