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Scientists Discovered 5000 Viruses in the Ocean

According to a new study published in the journal Science, an investigation of the genetic material in the ocean has uncovered thousands of previously unknown RNA Viruses and increased the number of phyla, or biological groups, of thought to exist.

The diseases caused by RNA Viruses are well-known, ranging from the common cold to COVID-19. Plants and animals that are essential to humans are also infected. RNA is used to transport the genetic information of these. The evolution of RNA  is substantially faster than that of DNA . While hundreds of thousands of DNA have been identified in natural environments, RNA Viruses have received less attention.

According to researchers, Viruses, unlike humans and other cell-based animals, lack unique short sequences of DNA that could operate as a genetic bar code. Trying to identify between different Viruses species in the wild without this bar code can be difficult.In all three trips, prochlorococcus concentrations in the oligotrophic waters of the subtropical gyre were 1.5–3.0 105 cells ml1, accounting for about 29% of total bacteria and numerically dominating the phytoplankton community.

Prochlorococcus abundance remained high in the southern transition zone, but dropped dramatically north of the chlorophyll front to less than 2,000 cells ml1, accounting for less than 1% of the total bacterium. This drop occurred at around 12 °C, consistent with the thermal limits on Prochlorococcus growth found in cultures and in multiple field observations11,12,15,30. Synechococcus, on the other hand, was 10–100 times more common in the transition zone than in the subtropics and gradually reduced northwards to subpolar waters.

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