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Viruses have been shown to produce their own energy for the first time

By Michael Le Page

An illustration of a mimivirus made up of outer hair and DNA trapped in protein

JOSE ANTONIO PENAS / SCIENTIFIC PHOTO LIBRARY

Some giant viruses seem to generate their own energy, which viruses shouldn't really be able to do. The result will spark an already heated debate about whether giant viruses are really viruses and whether they are alive or not.

"It's really incredible to have energy in a virus," says Bernard La Scola from the University of Aix-Marseille in France. Why a virus has to produce its own energy remains a mystery, he says.

By 2003 everyone was …