(ORDO NEWS) — Recent research has led to an unusual discovery in the deepest and darkest parts of the ocean. An international team of researchers has discovered a virus that infects bacteria living at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest place on Earth. The study was published in Microbiology Spectrum.
This mysterious ocean world, hidden at a depth of 8,900 meters, has taught us that life is resilient and finds ways to thrive in the most incredible conditions. The discovery of this virus, named vB_HmeY_H4907, expands our understanding of the diversity of viruses in our deep waters.
The discovered virus belongs to a group of bacteriophages, whose task is to infect and multiply inside bacteria. Scientists say bacteriophages are the most common organisms on the planet, and they are likely to be present wherever bacteria exist.
A team of scientists collected samples from the Mariana Trench and discovered vB_HmeY_H4907, which is an entirely new family of double-stranded DNA siphoviruses. This virus attacks Halomonas, a genus of bacteria often found in the deep sea and hydrothermal vents, and is thought to play an important role in underwater environments.
One of the most interesting aspects of this discovery is that phage vB_HmeY_H4907 turned out to be lysogenic. This means that the virus inserts its genetic material into the genome of the bacterial host. Thus, when a bacterial cell divides, the viral genetic material is also copied and passed on to new cells.
The study authors plan to continue studying the molecular mechanisms that regulate the interaction between deep-sea viruses and their hosts.
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