giant viruses are about the size of small bacteria and even visible in the light microscope. Moreover, they are much more diverse than previously thought: researchers have just discovered a third variant in the Siberian permafrost. So far, the researchers knew that two very different families: the Mega viruses and Pandora viruses. Both have only been known for about ten years.
Now researchers have awakened a giant virus from the permafrost to life. Pithovirus sibericum infect certain amoebae, the scientists report in the “Proceedings” of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States. The researchers had thawed the permafrost samples and then combined in the laboratory with amoebae, in which the viruses could multiply. “To our knowledge, this is the oldest eukaryotes infecting virus that has been brought back to life,” it says.
© Axel Springer SE 2014. All rights reserved