A 'Jurassic Park' of diseases?
Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 1:49 PM - Scientists have recovered a giant virus from 700-year-old frozen caribou dung.
Recovered by drilling though the ice core from the Selwyn Mountains and obtaining the frozen feces, scientists have now managed to sequence the complete genome of a virus that is at least 700 years old.
The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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By looking at the DNA of the old virus they determined that it was distantly related to the plant-infecting geminivirus. Once the family of the strand was determined, scientists infected a close relative of tobacco—successfully.
This means they have essentially brought to life a dormant virus.
While initially this sort of research seems potentially dangerous it does offer an important insight: with Arctic ice melting faster and faster, the possibility of ancient viruses being released is possible.
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