What are the viruses found in Massachusetts forests that look like aliens? Let’s delve deeper!

Researchers are glad and proud to discover a treasure of wonders in the soil of a forest in Massachusetts. This treasure does not have any gems or diamonds, but actually an assortment of huge viruses. This is unlike anything the researchers have ever been fortunate to find. The discovery points out a group of massive parasites that has a huge ecological diversity. It also holds massive evolutionary importance, something that researchers did not expect.

These giant viruses are able to exceed about 2 micrometers in diameter. These are on par with some types of bacteria. These newly found viruses are also able to harbor enormous genomes. These genomes reach about 2.5 megabases; actually much greater than the genomes of organisms that are even rich in complexity.

These are the newly found huge-sized viruses in algae and amoeba-infecting Mimiviruses. Researchers earlier thought these newly discovered viruses were found only in freshwater environments. However, the DNA sequencing revealed something else. The DNA sequencing indicated that these giant viruses are diverse, and are not only limited to freshwater environments. These are abundant elsewhere as well. These had been found in areas like soils and sediments. The soil is expected to hold around 97 percent of all the important particles on the planet, making it possible for these viruses to inhabit. That is why, the genomic sequencing of the Harvard Forest soils, a patch of around 16-square-kilometer area west of Boston, pointed towards the presence of multiple novel giant viruses.\

Technology has always worked for mankind, even in looking for microbes. Electron microscopy has made it possible for scientists to do what others couldn’t. The researchers found 20-sided icosahedral shapes. They also found stranger-looking ones as well; the ones that had multiple modifications like altered points channeled structures, and tails. Viruses with long tubular appendages were also found. The team dubbed these ones as “Gorgon” morphology. Additionally, the majority of such putative viral particles were actually seen coated with hair-like projections; projections that varied in thickness, shape, density,  and length.

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Such discoveries point out the fact that virologists have a lot to discover regarding how giant viruses are able to interact with the host cells. This also means that the ecological roles of such viruses in the soil and in other habitats are too yet to be discovered. However, for starters, the unexpected discovery of such strange yet interesting-looking viruses is something that deserves a big celebration.

ALSO READ: What is the Biodiversity Act? How did the Lok Sabha make changes?

Categories: Trends
Source: tiengtrunghaato.edu.vn

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