Its genome seems to be totally new to science, populated by unknown genes never registered before.
A team of Brazilian researchers has identified a new and “mysterious” type of virus that has baffled the scientific community. Until the 90% of their genes had never been seen before nor are they registered in any database.
Baptized with the name of Yaravirus brasiliensis in honor of Yara, an aquatic queen of Brazilian mythology, It was obtained from Lake Pampulha, an artificial lake in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte. This virus collected from amoebas It is considerably smaller than those generally known to infect amoebas.
In an article for the portal on biological sciences bioRxiv, the team described the infectious agent as “a new lineage of amoeba virus with a baffling origin and phylogeny“
Yaravirus does not appear to be a giant virus, how truly unique its genome is. “It has been seen that most of the known amoeba viruses share many characteristics that eventually led the authors to classify them into common evolutionary groups,” the research authors say in statements collected by Science Alert.
“Contrary to what is observed in other isolated amoeba viruses, the Yaravirus it is not represented by a large / giant particle and a complex genome, but at the same time it carries a significant number of previously undescribed genes. ” So far, no evidence has been found that it is dangerous for humans, they say.
Genes never seen
When analyzing their genetic material, the team found that until the 90% of genes (68) were not registered in no scientific database. The system only identified six genes: an exonuclease / recombinase, a packing ATPase, a bifunctional primase / polymerase DNA and three hypothetical proteins.
“Using the standard protocols, our first analysis was not able to find no recognizable sequence of the typical viral genes in Yaravirus, ”the researchers said. “In fact, following the current protocols, Yaravirus would not even have been recognized as a virus,” adds the scientific team.
“This expands our knowledge of the diversity in the DNA of viruses,” the study authors point out. “The distance between Yaravirus and the rest of the viruses shows that we are still in the early stages of virus genomic diversity.”