Jul 5, 2022

Newly discovered viruses can offer clues about the rise of complex life on Earth

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution

In a trio of studies published on June 27 in the journal Nature Microbiology 0, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered “fingerprints” of mysterious viruses hidden in an ancient group of microbes that may include the ancestors of all complex life on Earth: from fungi to plants to humans.

Ths discovery is significant; it explores the hypothesis that viruses were imperative to the evolution of humans and other complex life forms.

These microbes – known as Asgard archaea after the abode of the gods in Norse mythology – are usually found in the frigid sediments deep in the ocean and in boiling springs, and existed on Earth before the first eukaryotic cells, which carry their DNA inside a nucleus.

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