Giant viruses discovered lurking on the Greenland ice sheet Giant viruses discovered lurking on the Greenland ice sheet

Giant viruses discovered lurking on the Greenland ice sheet

Giant viruses discovered lurking on the Greenland ice sheet
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Scientists at Aarhus University in Denmark discovered giant viruses while exploring the Greenland ice sheet.

The algae lie dormant on the Greenland ice sheet until spring, when they begin to bloom and blacken large areas of ice.

When the ice turns black, its ability to reflect sunlight decreases, which accelerates the melting of the ice, thus exacerbating global warming.

But researchers believe that the newly discovered giant viruses may reduce the melting of some ice in the long term.

Laura Perini, who led the study, said: “We don't know a lot about viruses, but I think they could be useful as a way to mitigate ice melt caused by algal blooms. We don't yet know how accurate viruses are and how effective they are, but by exploring them further, we hope to We answer some of these questions."
Giant viruses discovered lurking on the Greenland ice sheet


She added: “We analyzed samples of dark ice, red snow, and melting holes (cryoconite). We found signs of active giant viruses in both dark ice and red snow. This is the first time that surface ice and snow have been found to contain a high abundance of microalgae.” "A few years ago, everyone thought this part of the world was barren and devoid of life, but today we know that many microorganisms live there, including giant viruses."

Perini explained that there is an entire ecosystem surrounding algae. In addition to bacteria, filamentous fungi, and yeasts, there are protists that eat algae, different types of fungi that parasitize them, and the giant viruses that we found that infect them.

Since giant viruses are a relatively new discovery, not much is known about them, as they possess many active genes that enable them to repair, replicate, copy, and translate DNA.

“Later this year, we will release another scientific paper with some additional information about the giant viruses that infect microalgae thriving on the surface ice of the Greenland ice sheet,” Perini said.

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