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posted by chromas on Saturday January 25 2020, @02:10AM   Printer-friendly
from the not-dead-yet dept.

Previously collected ice cores taken from a Tibetan glacier have revealed 28 new genera of viruses according to researchers from Ohio State University and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

A genus (plural genera) in biology encompasses multiple species. For example, Lions and Tigers (not bears) belong to the genus Panthera

The ice cores had not been protected from surface contamination when collected from the Guliya ice cap (northwestern Tibetan Plateau, China), so it was first necessary to establish "ultra-clean microbial and viral sampling procedures for glacier ice."

To ensure a pristine sample, the researchers, working in a freezer, first cut off some of the outer layer of each core sample. Each of the samples was then washed with ethanol to melt off approximately 0.2 inches of ice. Each was then washed again with sterile water to melt off another 0.2 inches of ice. The team also created test samples by repeating the same cleaning procedure on ice cores that had first been covered with known viruses and bacteria. The samples that remained were then deemed pristine and ready for study.

The study of the cores revealed a total of 33 groups of viruses with the majority previously unseen. The researchers note the importance of the work exposing the potential of melting glaciers to unleash deadly viruses.

Journal Reference
Zhi-Ping Zhong et al. Glacier ice archives fifteen-thousand-year-old viruses, bioRxiv (2020). DOI: 10.1101/2020.01.03.894675


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 26 2020, @01:51PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 26 2020, @01:51PM (#948837)

    Hundreds or thousands of species. Genera, less commonly. And what you link to says

    Instead of species, Gregory classified the viruses into “populations” in which “there’s more gene flow within a group than between groups of viruses.”

    which means geographically separated populations (note they had a lot of new Arctic data) of the "same" species are different groups, so your example actually found far fewer than 180,000 new species.

    Yeah we find new things when we look new places or with new techniques. We also find new human diseases when we look with new techniques within human populations... that doesn't make those human diseases any less important.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 26 2020, @05:53PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 26 2020, @05:53PM (#948933)

    Here is the thing you obviously know nothing about, and it is the cornerstone of understanding what a "species" etc. even means when applied to bacteria and viruses.
    Enjoy the new knowledge: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizontal_gene_transfer [wikipedia.org]