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Giant viruses found in the Greenland ice sheet

Giant viruses found in the Greenland ice sheet

In spring, life returns to even the harshest environments in the Northern Hemisphere. in North Pole They are the ones next to Polar bears, the birds And Musk oxen As well as other objects such as Algae. They begin to bloom, turning large portions of the ice black.

➤ Read more: Researchers are concerned about viruses in the ice

This is given Climate disaster A growing problem. Because the ice turns black, it loses its ability to reflect sunlight. Instead of that, absorbs heat, Which causes the ice to melt more intensely.

Giant viruses as saviors

But now researchers have found an unusual helper to reduce this effect: Giant viruses. This comes from an interview study conducted by a postdoctoral researcher Laura Perini Manal Department of Environmental Sciences, Aarhus University Outside. It was published in A specialized journal in the microbiomeas The university itself stated in a statement.

Viruses can do that Prevents algae growth Reducing the impact of increased ice melting. The reason for this is that they feed on these same algae. “We don't know much about viruses. But I think they may be useful in slowing the melting of ice caused by algae blooms,” Perini said. It is still unclear how effective this will be. These questions are said to be investigated through further research.

➤ Read more: Researchers have discovered 'zombie viruses' in Siberian ice

Giant viruses are that big

Usually viruses 20 to 200 nm Large and therefore smaller by a factor of 1000 bacteria With 2 to 3 µm. This does not apply to giant viruses. They're round 2.5 microns big.

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And at the same time you Genome Much larger. Giant viruses were first discovered in the sea in 1981, but later they were also detected on ice, snow and even in humans.

Since this discovery is relatively “young”, not much is known about giant viruses yet. For example, how exactly it works and what exactly it can infect. Perini and her team want to continue studying viruses and publish another paper on the topic this year.

Algae in the ice provide an entire ecosystem, Perini explains. These also include viruses bacteria, Filamentous fungi And Yeasts.

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