Science/Tech

Unique Virus With Unknown Genes Discovered By Scientists In Brazil

Based on previous researchers and scientific papers, viruses are always thought to be pretty inert organisms that are only capable of doing one thing, which is to infect their hosts. This has been proven many times by microbiological sciences, which already studied just how these organisms are able to spread and, of course, function.

However, a new research reveals that scientists just recently were able to make a discovery that shatters all known perception about viruses: a unique virus with unknown genes. Now called as the Yaravirus, this newly discovered viral organism has a genome that’s unlike anything scientists recorded before, and is reportedly recovered from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, which is an artificial lake.

Named after a Brazilian water goddess called Yara, the Yaravirus is found to be composed of particles that are as small as 80 nm along with a significant number of genes that remain undescribed to date, making it very notable and unlike any viruses that have been discovered. Furthermore, the virus itself also doesn’t have a complex genome observed in isolated viruses of amoeba, meaning that scientists can’t classify them into one of the available evolutionary groups today.

According to virologists Bernard La Scola from Aix-Marseille University in France and Jônatas Abrahão from Brazil's Federal University of Minas Gerais (who is studying the strange virus itself), around 90 percent of the genes found in the Yaravirus are orphan genes. In other words, this is the first time that scientists were able to come across them. Moreover, there were only six genes in the virus that are already known to man.

What exactly is the Yaravirus and what can it do? Well, that answer would have to come later because scientists can only speculate for now, saying that it might be from an unknown amoebal virus group. Another suggestion is that it could be a giant virus that turned into a reduced organism.

"The amount of unknown proteins composing the Yaravirus particles reflects the variability existing in the viral world and how much potential of new viral genomes are still to be discovered," the authors wrote.

Strange indeed.

Virus Local health officials in China confirmed that an unknown viral pneumonia has been affecting people in the central city of Wuhan. Pixabay

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