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In a report that sounds like the plot of a grade B science fiction film, Ed Yong reports Ancient Virus 'Resurrected' From 30,000-Year-Old Ice In Siberia, from an article just published in Nature. "The Return of the Giant Amoeba Eating Siberian Viruses," coming soon to a theater near you.

 photo n-ANCIENT-VIRUS-large_zpsa97bb098.jpgTransmission electron microscopy color image of a Pithovirus sibericum cross-section, from Nature  

This virus is still infectious and has killed amoebae in labs. Fortunately, it seems to target amoebae only, but the researchers suggest that as Earth's ice melts, this could trigger the return of other ancient viruses, with potential risks for human health.

The newly thawed virus is the biggest one ever found. At 1.5 micrometres long, it is comparable in size to a small bacterium. Evolutionary biologists Jean-Michel Claverie and Chantal Abergel, the husband-and-wife team at Aix-Marseille University in France who led the work, named it Pithovirus sibericum, inspired by the Greek word 'pithos' for the large container used by the ancient Greeks to store wine and food. “We’re French, so we had to put wine in the story,” says Claverie. The results are published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Two years ago, Claverie and Abergel's team learned that scientists in Russia had resurrected an ancient plant from fruits buried in 30,000-year-old Siberian permafrost. “If it was possible to revive a plant, I wondered if it was possible to revive a virus,” says Claverie. Using permafrost samples provided by the Russian team, they fished for giant viruses by using amoebae — the typical targets of these pathogens — as bait. The amoebae started dying, and the team found giant-virus particles inside them.

At, 1.5 micrometers long, it is the largest virus ever discovered, and replicates in cytoplasm rather than the cell nucleus as most viruses do.

A frightening aspect of this that make our movie more thrilling is that the authors are concerned that with global warming, and Arctic drilling and mining operations, we could thaw out many more ancient viruses that are still infectious and that could conceivably pose a threat to human health.

Two years ago, Claverie and Abergel's team learned that scientists in Russia had resurrected an ancient plant from fruits buried in 30,000-year-old Siberian permafrost. “If it was possible to revive a plant, I wondered if it was possible to revive a virus,” says Claverie. Using permafrost samples provided by the Russian team, they fished for giant viruses by using amoebae — the typical targets of these pathogens — as bait. The amoebae started dying, and the team found giant-virus particles inside them.

But, the authors say, we shouldn't worry, more people will probably die from other aspects of global warming like the hundreds of millions of environmental refugees due to rising sea levels who will likely have no place to go. Sheesh, I feel comforted already. "Seriously, science-type people, WTH?" (snark alert!)  

Cue Twilight Zone music, "Too, dee, duu, doo, Too, dee duu, doo!

10:15 PM PT: In order to put up this poll inspired by maybeeso, on what are the most terrifying way to dies I have to show you these pictures of the giant snake eating a crocodile whole and live after an epic 5 hours struggle.

 photo snake4_zpsc3d8b86e.jpg

 photo Snakeeatingcroc_zpsd1c1757d.jpg

Poll

Which way of dying suggested by this evening's posts distresses you the most and is most likely to show up in your nightmares tonight?

2%1 votes
11%5 votes
13%6 votes
15%7 votes
0%0 votes
4%2 votes
46%21 votes
2%1 votes
0%0 votes
4%2 votes

| 45 votes | Vote | Results

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