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Giant viruses should be included reconstructions of the tree of life, researchers report in a new study. The mimivirus, shown here (small black hexagons) infecting an amoeba, is as big as some bacterial cells and shares some ancient protein structures with most organisms. | Professor Didier Raoult, Rickettsia Laboratory, La Timone, Marseille, France
Tech

Giant Viruses Are Ancient Living Organisms

Researchers are giving viruses, which have genes but no cellular structure, a place on the tree of life.

September 17, 2012
3:00 AM EDT