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Published 3 years ago with 2 Comments

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  • Electrickery
    +3

    Okay, fascinating stuff, and I'm going to show my ignorance here, but itf they have to ensure it will not harm animals or humans before re-energising the virus, why are they even doing it, anyway ?

  • shadow1515
    +2

    This is really cool stuff, but the doomsday threat isn't quite what the article implies it could be (at least not to our current knowledge). These megaviruses are different enough from known viruses that there is debate over how to even classify them. They are like viruses in that they aren't really "alive" by traditional definitions, in that they need to enter a host cell and use its resources to reproduce. However, from their initial discovery it was years until someone finally figured out what they even were, because they looked like bacteria under a microscope but mysteriously refused to be cultured. They also differ from viruses in that they have much larger genomes and produce some of their own cellular machinery. So far the only ones discovered infect amoebas, and they actually have their own viruses called virophages that infect them after they've taken up residence in a host cell.

    This is just a fascinating new area of research overall. Radiolab had a recent episod about these guys if anyone wants to learn more. My apologies if you listen to that and find I said something wrong, I was pulling my information from memory as I typed this.

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