Scientists discovered first “vampire viruses” in the US

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NEW YORK, BRONX (ORDO News) — American scientists have discovered unique viruses capable of cooperation and competition.

Virologists are always on the lookout for new knowledge and surprises in the world of microbiology, and it seems they have discovered something unusual again. A Maryland research team has discovered “vampire viruses” in the wild for the first time.

These unusual viruses join other viruses to replicate, creating a phenomenon that was previously only thought possible in theory. The news about the existence of “vampire viruses” became a sensation, arousing the interest and surprise of scientists around the world.

As it turns out, in the struggle for survival and replication, viruses can develop incredible strategies. Researcher Tagide deCarvalho encountered a unique phenomenon called the companion-helper relationship. In this interaction, the companion virus depends on the helper virus throughout its entire life cycle.

The study focused on a companion bacteriophage called MiniFlayer, which lives in soil. Interestingly, MiniFlayer lacks a gene that allows it to integrate into the DNA of the host cell. This means that MiniFlayer, in order to survive, must interact closely with another virus, researched and named MindFlayer.

Although the concept of viral companions has been known to biologists for decades, it received particular attention in 1973. Then researchers working on bacteriophages P2 and P4 discovered an amazing competitive relationship. In this viral “game”, P4 relied on P2’s genetic material for its replication, leading to the designation of P2 as a “helper” virus. Similar systems of assistant satellites have proven to be common in various areas of wildlife.

These interactions between satellites and assistants have a huge impact on biological evolution and start a real “arms race”. The satellites develop new strategies to exploit their assistants, while the assistants develop countermeasures to counter them. This leads to the development of various antivirus systems and methods.

It is interesting to note that many modern antiviral systems used in biology, such as CRISPR-Cas9, likely have their origins in phages and their companions.

The discovery of “vampire viruses” poses many new questions and challenges for scientists. But it also highlights the amazing diversity of viruses and their survival strategies. This finding provides new insights into virology and could help develop more effective methods to combat infectious diseases.


News agencies contributed to this report, edited and published by ORDO News editors.

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