Discovered: a family of viruses that dominate the oceans

❝ The ocean is crowded. As many as 10 million viruses can be found squirming in a single millilitre of its water, and it turns out they have friends we never even knew about.

Scientists have discovered a previously unknown family of viruses that dominate the ocean and can’t be detected by standard lab tests. Researchers suspect this viral multitude may already exist outside the water — maybe even inside us.

“We don’t think it’s ocean-specific at all,” says environmental microbiologist Martin Polz from MIT…

❝ The team calls their discovery Autolykiviridae, after Autolykos (“the wolf itself”): a character from Greek mythology, who as a trickster and thief proved similarly tricky to catch.

But Autolykiviridae has been caught, and now that we know about it, the discovery is helping scientists to fill in a large missing link in virus evolution.

RTFA. Fascinating stuff. Cue your favorite sci-fi music in the background though I think it unnecessary. Real science is already scary enough to some.

2 thoughts on “Discovered: a family of viruses that dominate the oceans

  1. Darwinist says:

    “The sea is calm you said. Peaceful. Calm above, but below a world of gliding monsters preying on their fellows. Murderers, all of them. Only the strongest teeth survive. And who’s to tell me it’s any different here on board, or yonder on dry land?” Master At Arms Claggert. (Herman Melville, “Billy Budd”, published in 1924).

  2. Doc says:

    “Women’s bladders brim with never-before-seen viruses that can kill bacteria : Researchers hope that the viruses can be harnessed to improve health.” https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/02/streaming-viral-content-womens-bladders-gush-with-cryptic-killer-viruses/ Loyola University Chicago researchers found a sac-like organ brimming with never-before-seen viruses that can kill and manipulate bacteria. Their findings, published this week in the Journal of Bacteriology, offer a first-pass catalogue of the rich diversity of bacteria-infecting viruses—aka “phages” or “bacteriophages”—in the bladder microbiome. The researchers suggest that further studies into the streaming viral content could one day lead to phage-based methods to void bacterial infections and identify disorders.

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