More than 5,000 new viruses have been discovered in the oceans

More than 5,000 new viruses have been discovered in the oceans

This is a major discovery that upsets our knowledge of the oceans and the life they harbor: an international team of scientists has just identified 5,500 new species of viruses, most of which are part of hitherto unknown branches.

Posted in April 7 in the magazine ScienceThe study presents the results of the existing research, among others, On the analysis of 35,000 samples of water taken In the oceans around the world on expeditions ocean tara -From the name of a French sailboat Dedicated to scientific research and environmental defense. Target? Understanding the role of RNA viruses in marine ecosystems.

Thus, scientists updated the presence in the ocean of 5,500 new types of viruses, the genetic material of which consists of RNA, and to classify them, they also had to Create new rating levels. Five ranks to classify existing RNA viruses are not enough, scientists had to imagine five more branches that could bring together thousands of other species: Taraviricota, Pomiviricota, Paraxenoviricota, Wamoviricota, and Arctiviricota.

Dangerous viruses?

New viruses found in the oceans: good or bad news? Excellent news! In general, researchers believe that Nearly a billion viruses They are found in the seas, where they play an essential role as partly understood. Such discoveries make it possible to better understand their impact on the functioning of ocean ecosystems.

Viruses may indeed be kinds of regulators of ecosystems. If an organism turns out to be too abundant, for example, marine viruses attack it to prevent it from taking hold. It may infect microorganisms as well as plants and animals, but it will not be in danger to humans, according to France Inter.

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This discovery also opens up other perspectives: it could lead to a better understanding of the role of these marine viruses in ocean carbon sequestration. A crucial point in our understanding of climate change and its consequences.

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