Discovered dangerous virus in Hawaii, which infects algae

Scientists from the University of Hawaii at Manoa found that viruses infect not only people, but also phytoplankton. Dangerous viruses contain extremely large gene that gives the virus the ability to attack organisms that receive energy by means of photosynthesis.

Обнаружен опасный вирус на Гавайях, который поражает водоросли

For graduate students of the University of Hawaii is the usual practice of exploring the coastal flora. However, Christopher Schwartz with colleagues using the new software, I saw in the phytoplankton unusually large genome of an unknown virus. It attacks chloroplasts – the cells responsible for photosynthesis in plants. Because of this, the virus is not dangerous to humans, but as it turned out, the algae are no developed mechanisms for protection against disease. From the first glance it may seem that it is extremely detrimental to the ocean ecosystem as a whole. After all, remembering the food cycle, we can say that if the infected meat is sick the one who ate it. And plankton is the staple diet of many marine inhabitants, which in turn then become food for larger predators. In this case, a viral disease will affect them all.

But scientists say that’s nothing to worry about. When the population of one species healthy and severely increases, it becomes dominant and displaces other more small or weak. In this case, the viruses and bacteria helping to stop such “despotism” and to maintain balance in the ecosystem.


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