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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.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Biol

Publication Date





Mimiviridae, Phylogeny, Rivers