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Virus classification
Group: Group I (dsDNA)
(unranked): Nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses
Family: Mimiviridae
Genus: Mimivirus

Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus

Mimivirus is a new extra-large virus. It is either a viral genus with a single species, Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus (APMV), or it is a group of phylogenetically-related large viruses (MimiN).[1]

In speech, APMV is usually referred to as "mimivirus". Until October 2011, when an even larger virus Megavirus chilensis was described, it had the largest capsid diameter of all known viruses.[2]

Mimivirus has a large and complex genome compared with most other viruses. Mimivirus, short for "mimicking microbe", is so called to reflect its large size and apparent Gram-staining properties.[3]


  1. Ghedin E. & Claverie J. 2005. Mimivirus relatives in the Sargasso sea. Virology 2: 62. [1]
  2. "World's biggest virus found in sea off Chile". London: Telegraph UK. 11 October 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  3. Wessner, D R (2010). "Discovery of the giant mimivirus". Nature Education 3 (9): 61. Retrieved 2012-01-07.