Insane Discoveries about Viruses

Jay Kakade
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Virus

According to Genome.gov, virus is a small collection of genetic code, either DNA or RNA, surrounded by a protein coat.

As viruses are made up of genetic material, they do not have ability of reproducing as other living thing do. They integrate with genetic code of host. This integration allows them to hide in genetic codes of almost all organisms, from bacteria to humans.

Viruses are even everywhere, even in objects that sometimes enter Earth from outer space. Though it seems we know very much about viruses, but in reality, we are still making discoveries.

Initially virus was discovered in 1892. Speed of research gain momentum from arrival of SARS-CoV-2. And scientists realized new findings.

Mutation of SARS-CoV-2

DNA

In 2019, SARS-CoV-2 emerged in Wuhan, China. Till now it has undergone numerous mutations. Mutations that led to arrival of new variants. There are number studies that explains why and how coronavirus mutates.

As Space Explorists reported earlier, Novel Coronavirus gains mutational speed if exposed to immunocompromised person. Infecting animal cell could also be a possibility of mutation.

According to Live Science reports, SARS-CoV-2 often mutates by simply deleting small pieces of its genetic code. It is due to tis deletion that antibodies can’t recognize virus.

Colony of Viruses
(Image credit: Nanoclustering/Getty Images)

Discovery of Thousands of Viruses in Oceans

Recent studies conducted identified more than 5,000 new viruses dwelling in the oceans. In this study, researchers analysed more than 35,000 samples of water around the world, in search of RNA based viruses.

According to a report by Science,org, the variety of viruses discovered was so huge that scientists proposed five new phyla; Taraviricota, Pomiviricota, Paraxenoviricota, Wamoviricota and Arctiviricota.

While analysing this viruses’ researchers found an ancient gene ‘RdRp’ in them. This gene is about a billion years old. Scientists saw an opportunity here to study evolution by better understanding these viruses.

Z Genome Virus, more common than often

Some viruses possess DNA strands with a unique genetic letter known as Z. This Z-Genome is considered to be more common than we previously thought.

In 1970, scientists discovered a virus called cyanophage which possess a chemical called 2-aminoadenine also called as ‘Z’.

Earlier it was thought that Z-Genome is very rare but, new studies identified it as more common than thought.

Never-Before-Seen viruses in Humans

According to a report by Cell, scientists discovered more than 70,000 never-before-seen viruses in human gut. All these viruses found were bacteriophage i.e., viruses that infect bacteria.
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