Snow has buried many secrets of the earth’s ancient history in its layers that humans don’t even know about. Something similar happened in China. Scientists have found the genetic code for 33 viruses in a glacier here. At least 28 of them have never been seen before. These viruses are believed to be around 15,000 years old and have survived to this day thanks to their life in icy rock.
By obtaining the genetic code for this virus, scientists hope that it can also be discovered in other environments. In the future, it will also be able to help find life on planets like Mars. Matthew Sullivan, co-author of this research and director of the Microbiome Center in Ohio, said these viruses continue to thrive even in extremely harsh environments. These may contain genes that help do this.
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These genes are difficult to find because many precautions must be taken between their extraction from the snow and their study. Their analysis was carried out by taking ice cores from the Gulia ice cap in the Tibet Plateau region of China. The environmental profile is found there each year. With their help, the researchers also find evidence of climate change to microorganisms.
Help in finding life on Mars
The study’s principal investigator, Zhi-Ping Zhong, said, “These glaciers have formed gradually and dust, gases and viruses have also accumulated here. These correspond to viruses that infect bacteria and are released from the soil or plants. The same technique used to find viruses here could help the search for life on places like Mars.
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Lonnie Thompson, Ohio University