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Giant Virus Resurrected From Permafrost After 30,000 Years

Science & Tech  (tags: science, scientists, discovery, virus, humans )

- 1527 days ago -
A mysterious giant virus buried for 30,000 years in Siberian permafrost has been resurrected.

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Mari 's (1356)
Thursday March 13, 2014, 6:40 am

Giant Virus Resurrected from Permafrost After 30,000 Years

by Tia Ghose posted on March 07, 2014 04:05PM GMT

A mysterious giant virus buried for 30,000 years in Siberian permafrost has been resurrected.

The virus only infects single-celled organisms and doesn't closely resemble any known pathogens that harm humans.

Even so, the new discovery raises the possibility that as the climate warms and exploration expands in long-untouched regions of Siberia, humans could release ancient or eradicated viruses. These could include Neanderthal viruses or even smallpox that have lain dormant in the ice for thousands of years.

"There is now a non-zero probability that the pathogenic microbes that bothered [ancient human populations] could be revived, and most likely infect us as well," study co-author Jean-Michel Claverie, a bioinformatics researcher at Aix-Marseille University in France, wrote in an email. "Those pathogens could be banal bacteria (curable with antibiotics) or resistant bacteria or nasty viruses. If they have been extinct for a long time, then our immune system is no longer prepared to respond to them."

(A "non-zero" probability just means the chances of the event happening are not "impossible.")

Giant viruses

In recent years, Claverie and his colleagues have discovered a host ofgiant viruses, which are as big as bacteria but lack characteristic cellular machinery and metabolism of those microorganisms. At least one family of these viruses likely evolved from single-celled parasites after losing essential genes, although the origins of other giant viruses remain a mystery, Claverie said. [Tiny Grandeur: Stunning Images of the Very Small]

In the researchers' hunt for more unknown pathogens, they took a second look at permafrost samples collected from Kolyma in the Russian Far East in 2000. Because the permafrost was layered along steep cliffs, drillers could extract samples from 30,000 years ago by drilling horizontally into the ice, thereby avoiding contamination from newer samples.

The team then took samples of this permafrost and put them in contact with amoebas (blob-like single-celled organisms) in Petri dishes. The researchers then waited to see what happened.

Some of the amoebas burst open and died. When the scientists investigated further, they found a virus had killed the amoebas.

Full Story & Photo:

Thank you Richard Dawkins For sharing this!

Teri P (105)
Thursday March 13, 2014, 7:47 am
We are killing the planet - and ourselves!

Sue Matheson (79)
Thursday March 13, 2014, 7:49 am

Past Member (0)
Saturday March 15, 2014, 4:50 am
Thank you:)

Past Member (0)
Saturday March 15, 2014, 4:58 am
Agreed Teri P.

Bill Eagle (41)
Saturday March 15, 2014, 5:14 am
I find some of this info frightening....but I would like to learn more about their findings.

G. C (40)
Saturday March 15, 2014, 5:16 am
This is fascinating but.... The important sentence in the article is: The virus only infects single-celled organisms and DOESN'T CLOSELY RESEMBLE ANY KNOWN PATHOGEN THAT HARM HUMANS.
Again, we're messing with things that are liable to turn around and bite us in the butt!

Shawna S (45)
Saturday March 15, 2014, 6:44 am
Scary thought...attack of the giant virus.
Thanks Mari, for the article.

Past Member (0)
Saturday March 15, 2014, 6:50 am
what the old adage...the devil you know, against the devil you don't. thanks

Birgit W (160)
Saturday March 15, 2014, 2:12 pm
Thanks for sharing.

Kara C (15)
Saturday March 15, 2014, 5:58 pm
I have seen and read so many horror stories that start like this ...

Bob hardly here P (394)
Sunday March 16, 2014, 2:25 pm
Thanks Mari

DaleLovesOttawa O (198)
Sunday March 16, 2014, 7:52 pm
Fascinating, no doubt this possibility existed in some of the previous Ice Ages that this planet has gone through since the dawn of time. Rather interesting to know about old and ancient life forms including viruses.

Will I spend any time worrying about it, no, as there are many modern day issues that are much more of a threat to the planet than a virus that can't attack humans to begin with. But, this fact hardly makes this less interesting. There is a lot of life out there, both known and unknown. Always interesting to know what was, long ago and what could be once again at present.

Manuela Gewert (88)
Monday March 17, 2014, 2:47 am
Das ist gruselig!

Charlene Rush (79)
Wednesday March 19, 2014, 10:15 pm
Mother Nature is getting angry !!!

Past Member (0)
Friday March 28, 2014, 10:35 pm
Each time I used to always check blog posts within the first hours in the break of day, because I like to get information increasingly more. Advice by Hold Tight Films
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