Chinese scientists have discovered a cluster of giant viruses at the bottom of the Mariana Trench - in the deepest region of the World Ocean. The discovery, which National Geographic writes about, was made by a group of marine biologists from Shanghai.
Researchers removed sediment samples from the seabed, in which they found virus colonies. Some of the pathogens turned out to be extremely large, as for viruses - they are larger than microbes, which is simply incredible.
We are talking about the so-called mimiviruses, which were previously found on Earth, but at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, they took on a very interesting look. Due to the colossal pressure, which is 1100 times higher than normal atmospheric pressure, mimiviruses from the bottom of the depression have reached gigantic proportions.
The mimivirus population at the bottom of the trench accounts for approximately four percent of the total viral population. Scientists have raised a dozen types of viruses from the bottom of the ocean, as well as more than a hundred bacteria of different types. In addition to its abnormal size, mimivirus is distinguished from other pathogens by a supercomplex genome, which contains more than 1.2 million base pairs. The genome of the coronavirus that triggered the COVID-19 pandemic is about 40 times shorter. The effect of mimiviruses on mammals is still only being studied in laboratory conditions.