Giant viruses in the oceans: the 4th Algal Virus Workshop

Virol J. 2005 Jun 20;2:52. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-2-52.


Giant double-stranded DNA viruses (such as record breaking Acanthamoeba polyphaga Mimivirus), with particle sizes of 0.2 to 0.6 microm, genomes of 300 kbp to 1.200 kbp, and commensurate complex gene contents, constitute an evolutionary mystery. They challenge the common vision of viruses, traditionally seen as highly streamlined genomes optimally fitted to the smallest possible--filterable--package. Such giant viruses are now discovered in increasing numbers through the systematic sampling of ocean waters as well as freshwater aquatic environments, where they play a significant role in controlling phyto- and bacterio- plankton populations. The 4th Algal Virus Workshop showed that the study of these ecologically important viruses is now massively entering the genomic era, promising a better understanding of their diversity and, hopefully, some insights on their origin and the evolutionary forces that shaped their genomes.

Publication types

  • Congress

MeSH terms

  • DNA Viruses / genetics*
  • DNA Viruses / isolation & purification*
  • Eukaryota / virology*
  • Fresh Water / microbiology
  • Genome, Viral*
  • Phycodnaviridae / genetics*
  • Phycodnaviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Seawater / microbiology