Wednesday, March 5, 2014

30,000 Year Old Virus

Scientists recently discovered a virus in Siberia called Pithovirus sibericum. It was discovered frozen and underground in the permafrost and was found to be frozen for the past 30,000 years. This means that this virus existed around the time of the Neanderthal man extinction. Don't worry, this virus is not harmful to humans or animals (only amoeba), but it has scientists concerned with what other viruses could potentially arise again from the melting permafrost.
This virus is very large and resembles the Pandoravirus; however, there is no evidence in their genetic makeup that proves any relation. Pithovirus is the first of its kind, making it the first member of a new family of viruses and bringing the number of distinct families of giant viruses to 3: Pithovirus, Pandoravirus, and Mimivirus.
If you want to read more about this virus and what measures scientists are taking next, click here!

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