Paris, 3 March 2014

30,000 year-old giant virus found in Siberia

A new type of giant virus called “Pithovirus” has been discovered in the frozen ground of extreme north-eastern Siberia by researchers from the Information Génomique et Structurale laboratory (CNRS/AMU), in association with teams from the Biologie à Grande Echelle laboratory (CEA/INSERM/Université Joseph Fourier), Génoscope (CEA/CNRS) and the Russian Academy of Sciences. Buried underground, this giant virus, which is harmless to humans and animals, has survived being frozen for more than 30,000 years. Although its size and amphora shape are reminiscent of Pandoravirus, analysis of its genome and replication mechanism proves that Pithovirus is very different. This work brings to three the number of distinct families of giant viruses. It is published on the website of the journal PNAS in the week of March 3, 2014.

To download the press release : Pithovirus


Thirty-thousand-year-old distant relative of giant icosahedral DNA viruses with a pandoravirus morphology. M. Legendre, J. Bartoli, L. Shmakova, S. Jeudy, K. Labadie, A. Adrait, M. Lescot, O. Poirot, L. Bertaux, C. Bruley, Y. Couté, E. Rivkina, C. Abergel, J-M. Claverie. PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA). Week of 3 March 2014.


CNRS Researcher l Chantal Abergel l T +33 4 91 82 54 22 l
AMU Researcher l Jean-Michel Claverie l T +33 4 91 82 54 47 l
CNRS Press Officer l Priscilla Dacher l T +33 1 44 96 46 06 l


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