Environment Ancient viruses never observed by humans discovered in Tibetan glacier

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  1. tom_mai78101

    tom_mai78101 The Helper Connoisseur / Ex-MineCraft Host Staff Member

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    For the past 15,000 years, a glacier on the northwestern Tibetan Plateau of China has hosted a party for some unusual guests: an ensemble of frozen viruses, many of them unknown to modern science.

    Scientists recently broke up this party after taking a look at two ice cores from this Tibetan glacier, revealing the existence of 28 never-before-seen virus groups.


    Investigating these mysterious viruses could help scientists on two fronts: For one, these stowaways can teach researchers which viruses thrived in different climates and environments over time, the researchers wrote in a paper posted on the bioRxiv database on Jan. 7.

    "However, in a worst-case scenario, this ice melt [from climate change] could release pathogens into the environment," the researchers wrote in the study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed. If this happens, it's best to know as much about these viruses as possible, the researchers wrote.

    Studying ancient glacial microbes can be challenging. That's because it's extremely easy to contaminate ice core samples with modern-day bacteria. So, the researchers created a new protocol for ultraclean microbial and viral sampling.


    Read more here. (NBC News)
     

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