Researchers have been able to wake thousands of years old viruses from cryosleep, a study suggests. So the oldest is about 50,000 years old.
The essentials in a nutshell
- Scientists have discovered tens of thousands of years old viruses in Siberian permafrost.
- These so-called “zombie viruses” can be brought back to life in the laboratory.
- According to experts, dangerous bacteria could be released by climate change.
There is a French research group In the “Eternal Snow” of Siberia Viruses dating back tens of thousands of years have been discovered. 13 previously unknown virus types were detected and reactivated from corresponding samples.
This was reported in an unpublished report by a team led by Jean-Marie Alembic from the “Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique” (CNRS) in France. study At «bioRxiv», a preprint server for biosciences.
Worried about climate change?
In the yet-to-be-peer-reviewed paper, the researchers explain how they identified and resurrected 13 viruses belonging to five different clades from the samples.
According to the report, researchers estimate that one of the viruses discovered may have lived in the ice for nearly 50,000 years. In the laboratory, it has now become virulent again in cell cultures.
In the report, the group warns against the assumption that the release of viruses “trapped” in ice for tens of thousands of years is rare and that so-called “zombie viruses” do not pose a public health threat.
Climate change could unleash zombie viruses
When researchers talk about “permafrost,” they mean the Arctic and Antarctica. These are areas that have been covered by thick layers of ice over time. Geologists technically call it underground Permafrost.
A quarter of the Northern Hemisphere is still covered by permanently frozen land. However, climate change is causing problems in the region Around the North Pole for a change – starts in many places To melt the “eternal snow”. As a result, the region is plagued by the threat of frozen viruses.
The reason: As it warms, permafrost soils in northern Siberia and Canada thaw and, among other things, corpses or dead plant material appear.
While discoveries of long-extinct animal species are hailed as spectacular, they can also have far-reaching consequences. Because with them, creatures that have been forgotten for thousands of years are released.
We talk about viruses and BacteriaThe creatures were once carried and lay dormant for thousands of years.
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