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The recently discovered Pandoraviruses are by far the largest viruses known, with their 2 megabase genomes exceeding in size the genomes of numerous bacteria and archaea. Pandoraviruses show a distant relationship with other nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses (NCLDV) of eukaryotes, lack some of the NCLDV core genes and in particular do not appear to be specifically related to the other, better characterized family of giant viruses, the Mimiviridae. Here we report phylogenetic analysis of 6 core NCLDV genes that confidently places Pandoraviruses within the family Phycodnaviridae, with an apparent specific affinity with Coccolithoviruses. We conclude that, despite their many unusual characteristics, Pandoraviruses are highly derived phycodnaviruses. These findings imply that giant viruses have independently evolved from smaller NCLDV on at least two occasions.This article was reviewed by Patrick Forterre and Lakshminarayan Iyer. For the full reviews, see the Reviewers' reports section. © 2013 Yutin and Koonin; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Yutin, N., & Koonin, E. V. (2013). Pandoraviruses are highly derived phycodnaviruses. Biology Direct, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1745-6150-8-25