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Unknown to science viruses have been discovered in the American forest



     In the forests of Massachusetts, scientists stumbled upon giant viruses, still unknown to science.

     During research into the effects of soil heating on microorganisms, biologists from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst accidentally discovered 16 new types of viruses. This is an unusual discovery because giant viruses have so far been linked to the aquatic environment. To find them in the forest means that they are much more common than previously thought.


     “Our research is mainly focused on the effects of soil warming, but by chance we found out the true biological diversity of viruses and bacteria, which are usually not related to soil,” said Jeff Blanchard, lead author of the study.



     As a rule, viruses are hundreds of times smaller than bacteria, which makes them one of the smallest life forms known to us. Giant viruses were first described 15 years ago. They are proportional to the genome, and some of them may even have 2500 genes.

     Giant viruses are incredibly interesting because they often include many unique genes that are not found in other forms of life.

     Giant viruses have been detected in Harvard Forest soil in the city of Petersham in Massachusetts.

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