This minireview summarizes our current knowledge about archaeal genetic elements in the hyperthermophilic order Thermococcales in the phylum Euryarchaeota. This includes recent work on the first virus of Pyrococcus, PAV1, the discovery of novel unique virus morphotypes in hot deep-sea environments, and preliminary observations on novel cryptic plasmids. We also review the work accomplished over the last 5 years in the development of genetic tools for members of the Pyrococcus and Thermococcus genera, mainly in our laboratories.

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