Saturday , February 27 2021

Several Ancient Viruses Have Been Discovered in 15,000-Year-Old Glacial Ice – ScienceAlert, Sciencealert.com

(Santiago Urquijo / Moment / Getty Images)

KRISTIN HAUSER, FUTURISM

JAN

In , a team of scientists from the United States and China traveled to Tibet to gather samples of Earth’s oldest glacial ice.

Earlier this month, they published a paper on the pre-print server bioRxiv detailing their discovery of new virus groups in the , 03 – year-old ice – and warning that climate change could free the ancient viruses into the modern world.

The team drilled 728 meters (823 feet) down into the glacier to obtain two ice cores , which then underwent a three-step decontamination protocol.

After that, the researchers used microbiology techniques to identify microbes in the samples.

Those techniques revealed 33 virus groups – including, notably, (ancient viruses that scientists had never seen before.

“This study establishes ultra-clean microbial and viral sampling procedures for glacier ice, which complements prior in silico decontamination methods and expands, for the first time, the clean procedures to viruses, “ the team wrote .

As the team pointed out in their paper, climate change now threatens both our ability to exhaustiv ely catalog those those tiny lifeforms – as well as our ability to stay safe from dangerous ones.

“At a minimum, [ice melt] could lead to the loss of microbial and viral archives that could be diagnostic and informative of past Earth climate regimes,” they wrote.

“However, in a worst-case scenario, this ice melt could release pathogens into the environment.”

This article was originally published by Futurism . Read the original article .


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