The genome is composed of a linear double-stranded RNA molecule of 4.6–6.7 kilobases. It contains 2 overlapping open reading frames (ORF)—gag and pol—which respectively encode the capsid protein and the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. Some totiviruses contain a third small potential ORF.
Viral replication is cytoplasmic. Replication follows the double-stranded RNA virus replication model. Double-stranded RNA virus transcription is the method of transcription. Translation takes place by -1 ribosomal frameshifting, +1 ribosomal frameshifting, viral initiation, and RNA termination-reinitiation. The virus exits the host cell by cell-to-cell movement. Giardia lamblia protozoa, leishmania protozoa, protozoan trichomonas vaginalis, and fungi serve as the natural host.