This article - by one of the discoverers of Mimivirus - argues that the new giant DNA viruses are different from other viruses and that as a result, we neew to create a new brach of microbes. Other virologists are more cautious, suggesting that Mimivirus can fit within the current scheme of virus taxonomy. Either…
Ed Rybicki's insight:
I don't think that The Big Lads justify a new domain of life: while they may be the largest monophyletic group of viruses with the most ancient provenance, they are not the ONLY monophyletic group. A good case could be made for caudoviruses (Order Caudovirales) too; the ss(+)RNA viruses are also probably ancient and have a variety of origins - so there is nothing special about Mimi and her cousins, other than they are (so far) the most complex viruses in terms of genome size and encoded content.
They are still most certainly viruses, by all of the best accepted definitions (including mine B-), in that they are still obligate intracellular parasites that do not have a translational apparatus, and which cause particles to be assembled to transport their genomes.
Two hundred and sixty publications from 2007 to 2012 were classified according to the quality of electron micrographs; namely as good (71); mediocre (21); or poor (168). Publications were from 37 countries; appeared in 77 journals; and included micrographs produced with about 60 models of electron microscopes. The quality of the micrographs was not linked to any country; journal; or electron microscope. Main problems were poor contrast; positive staining; low magnification; and small image size. Unsharp images were frequent. Many phage descriptions were silent on virus purification; magnification control; even the type of electron microscope and stain used. The deterioration in phage electron microscopy can be attributed to the absence of working instructions and electron microscopy courses; incompetent authors and reviewers; and lenient journals. All these factors are able to cause a gradual lowering of standards.
Good phage picture from Ed Rybicki's collection B-)
Ed Rybicki's insight:
A WONDERFUL rant from an old-style perfectionist! Thanks, Marla!!
Deformed wing virus reduces the winter survival of European honeybees (Apis mellifera), and could be a factor in the large colony losses seen in some parts of the world. To find out how the virus became pandemic, Lena Wilfert at the University of Exeter, UK, and her colleagues analysed the virus's genome to reconstruct its evolutionary and geographical history.
Ed Rybicki's insight:
I think human activity is pretty much to blame for nearly ALL outbreaks of infectious disease of recent times?
Large numbers of babies with borderline normal heads were born Brazil as far back as 2012, two years before the Zika virus is thought to have entered the country, say researchers searching for answers to urgent questions.
In an update on the yellow fever outbreak that began in Luanda, Angola in December, health officials say the death toll has climbed to 37.
Angola Image/CIA National Director of Health, Mr Adelaide de Carvalho said health officials were monitoring suburbs around the capital of Luanda where infections have been worsened by unsanitary conditions caused by a garbage collection backlog. “Actions should be developed for the improvement of public sanitary and garbage collection,” de Carvalho said. On Wednesday, The National Commission for Civil Protection, coordinated by the Interior Minister Interior, Ângelo de Barros Veiga Tavares, held an extraordinary session in order to analyze the situation of endemic outbreak of yellow fever. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas in South America and Africa. The virus is transmitted to people by the bite of an infected mosquito.
Across the world, bees are succumbing to a deadly virus, and a new study places the blame squarely on humans. The good news is, there are some common-sense measures we can take right now to start protecting the honeybees we rely on to pollinate our crops.
COTONOU, Benin, 10 February 2016 – Alarmed by an outbreak of deadly Lassa Fever, UNICEF and World Health Organization officials in Benin are scaling up an emergency response to help prevent further spread of the disease.
The potential link between the Zika virus and brain malformations in babies is terrifying pregnant women around the world. But even in places not hit by the virus, kids are at risk of being born with microcephaly, or a smaller-than-average brain. Many of those cases are caused by a virus you’ve probably never heard of:...
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