In Brazil, discovered a new virus with unknown genome

Viruses — one of the smallest forms of life on our planet and at the same time one of the most dangerous. Constantly evolving, the viruses become more adapted and sophisticated. But if all we know about them? Recently, researchers have discovered a new form of the virus, which practically does not contain any known genes. A mysterious virus harvested from amoebae in the artificial lake at Pampulha, located in the city of Belo Horizonte in Brazil was much smaller than viruses, which are usually sick amoeba. Scientists have named the virus Yaravirus brasiliensis in honour of the water nymphs ravines, which, according to the myths of the peoples of South America were like a mermaid and luring sailors beneath the water to live with her forever.

Amoebic virus — a relative of the giant virus?

When scientists sequenced the genome of Yaravirus brasiliensis — the process of determining the full DNA sequence, they found that more than 90% of its genome are not familiar to modern science. In his blog, devoted to the study of the virus, researchers reported that they had made an amazing discovery — the discovery of new lines of amoebic virus with an amazing origin and phylogeny. The work is published on the server preprints Bioarxiv.

According to Jonatas of Abrahan, a virologist from the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil, obtained during the research results show how much we still have to learn about viruses. As Professor Abraham said ScienceMag.orgsome of Yaravirus brasiliensis genes similar to the genes of a giant virus, but it is still unclear how they are connected. He and his colleagues are now investigating other features of the existence of the new virus. One scientist not associated with the study, suggested that the results represent “a new treasure chest of previously unseen biochemical processes”.

In General, researchers believe that the new virus comes from unknown isolated group of viruses distant relatives of the giant virus, which in the course of evolution have acquired the reduced form. Giant viruses were discovered in the twenty-first century. These organisms reach the size of bacterial cells. Because the capsid — the protein shell that encapsulates the viral particles, the virus was named giant. Length of DNA of a giant virus more than 200 000 base pairs and contains the orphan (Orfan) genes, which are not found in other organisms.