Researchers have recently stumbled upon a giant virus called Mollivirus Sibericum. The 30,000 years old virus measures 0.6 microns and was found hidden deep in Siberia’s ice platforms.
Although the researchers plan to reanimate the ancient virus, they claimed that their foremost priority is to ensure the virus will not be capable of causing any unforeseen disasters, such as diseases to humans or other living species on Earth.
Mollivirus Sibericum was discovered by the same team who previously discovered a similar ancient virus in 2014, which was dubbed Pithovirus. And the list doesn’t stop here, these two are only a half of the inactive viruses that were found during the last 15 years. Another, Megaviridae was discovered back in 2003, while Pandoraviridae was discovered in 2013. The finding is another that confirms the ability of viruses to endure stark environments for lengthy periods of time, such as the Siberian permafrost.
The French team of scientists at the National Center for Scientific Research found the virus by combining for the first time several methods including microscopic, genomic, metagenomic, proteomic, and transcroptomic technologies. The virus has been inactive for a baffling 30,000 years and now scientists are planning to bring it back to life
Jean-Michel Claverie, one of the main researchers of the team, said that the Mollivirus Sibericum was found as a 0.6 microns sphere that’s hosting a genome of about 650,000 pairs that are coding over 600 proteins. Scientists declared that the proteins coded by the Mollivirus’ genome are not similar to those coded by the Pithovirus’ genome they found last year.
Based on analyses of the replication sysem of the virus, researchers have filed the Mollivirus in the same category with Adenovirus, Herpesvirus, and Papillovirus, which are the most common viral viruses of today. But Mollivirus Sibericum is still a new type of virus and it has never been examined before and differs greatly from the three common giant virus families.
Researchers reckon that just a few particles would be enough to spawn a potentially pathogenic virus in the surrounding regions, causing significant public health concerns.
The French team of scientists will continue their search for other types of viruses in the ancient ice layers of the Siberian regions.
Photo Credits wikipedia