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Evolution of the genus Mimivirus based on translation protein homology and its implication in the tree of life

Author(s): V.M. Marcelino, M.V.P.C. Espinola, V. Serrano-Solis and S.T. Farias

The natural history of mimiviruses (i.e., viruses that are members of the Mimivirus genus) is a challenge for modern biology. A new domain of life to include these organisms has been proposed from analysis of gene conservation. We analyzed the evolutionary relationship of proteins involved in the translation system, and our data show that mimiviruses are a sister group of Eukarya. New data about the origins of Eukarya, in which Eukarya appears as a branch derived from the Archaea domain, were discussed, and we suggest that the mimiviruses emerged from the initial population that gave origin to Eukarya and that, in this way are not part of a new domain of life.