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Is the World's Largest Virus a Genetic Time Capsule?

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the virus-zero dept.

Science 111

gbrumfiel writes "Researchers in France have discovered the world's largest virus and given it a terrifying name: Pandoravirus. NPR reports it doesn't pose a threat to people, but its genetic code could hint at an unusual origin. The team believes that the virus may carry the genes from a long-dead branch of the tree of life, one that possibly even started on Mars or somewhere else. Other scientists are skeptical, but everyone agrees that the new giant virus is pretty cool."

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In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44324551)

world's largest virus discovers YOU!

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

anagama (611277) | about a year ago | (#44324593)

Your meme is broken.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (3, Funny)

ubersoldat2k7 (1557119) | about a year ago | (#44325519)

In NSA America world's largest virus discovers YOU!

Re:In Soviet Russia... (5, Funny)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44324733)

Try this one instead: In Soviet Russia, box of Pandoravirus opens you.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44324877)

I was thinking more of a Soylent Green paraphrasing with preachy environmentalist overtones:

"It's people. The world's largest virus is people."

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

MurukeshM (1901690) | about a year ago | (#44325811)

Agent Smith said that better.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44326001)

What, that hobbits are a disease?

Welcome to Rivendel, Mr. Anderson.

Armegedon comes in small packages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44324575)

By they time they figure out a cure, 50% dead, 25% infected, and another 25% waiting to see if the are immune or not.

Re:Armegedon comes in small packages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44324625)

We can hope.

Re:Armegedon comes in small packages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44330781)

This is the largest Armageddon package, in the World.

Um (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44324579)

I like turtles

Re:Um (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44325353)

Good, because it's turtles all the way down.

Re:Um (1, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | about a year ago | (#44325461)

I heard there is at least one layer of bacon.

Just a little (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44324611)

The team believes that the virus may carry the genes from a long-dead branch of the tree of life, one that possibly even started on Mars or somewhere else.

Other scientists are skeptical

No shit? That's one heck of an extraordinary claim right there. It'd be very fascinating if true, but that's going to need some strong evidence backing it. Either way, a virus of its size is still quite interesting.

Re:Just a little (5, Informative)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#44324653)

This kind of questioning showed up when the Mimivirus, the first (?) giant amoeba virus appeared, including the bit about degenerating into a virus as a survival strategy. It turned out that all of its genes came directly from the amoebae it was infecting; it's basically just really bad at reproducing. While it would be really neat to discover the remnants of a lost superphylum or kingdom, viruses mutate much too quickly for any informative signal to be preserved.

The reality is that we've only sequenced a tiny fraction of the Earth's biodiversity. There's a lot of stuff out there that's just more of the same, especially at the microbe level. The farther back you go, the lower the likelihood of finding a surviving isolate, which is why isolated biomes like Lake Vostok and the drilling site in Northern Ontario are so important.

Re:Just a little (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44324665)

The team believes that the virus may carry the genes from a long-dead branch of the tree of life, one that possibly even started on Mars or somewhere else.

Other scientists are skeptical

No shit? That's one heck of an extraordinary claim right there. It'd be very fascinating if true, but that's going to need some strong evidence backing it. Either way, a virus of its size is still quite interesting.

Dna in the virus. Composed of the same nucleotides found in all life on earth.
So either all life on earth originated on mars (or somewhere), or these viruses originated on earth.

One case makes them simply interesting, the other makes for much better headlines and vastly more grant money.

Competing theories (4, Insightful)

Camael (1048726) | about a year ago | (#44325003)

From TFA. The discoverers:-

"We believe that those new Pandoraviruses have emerged from a new ancestral cellular type that no longer exists," he says. That life could have even come from another planet, like Mars. "At this point we cannot actually disprove or disregard this type of extreme scenario," he says.

The naysayers :-

The virus's size is probably part of its survival strategy. Amoebas and other simple creatures could mistake it for bacteria and try to eat it, opening them up to infection. "The internal environment of the amoeba cell provides a very good playground for acquiring various kinds of genes from different sources," Koonin says. He thinks that the Pandoravirus's unusual genome may be a mishmash of random genetic material it's sucked up from its hosts.

I cite Occam's Razor -the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. Apologies to the discoverers, but I think its far too early to point to any "ancestral cellular type that no longer exists".

Re:Competing theories (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44325825)

Ockhams razor

Re:Competing theories (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44326927)

I cite Arkham's Razor: This is clearly a shoggoth spore, the researchers will all be consumed within a month.

Re:Just a little (1)

tomofumi (831434) | about a year ago | (#44325459)

As I know, there is no DNA inside virus, just RNA fragments. That's why they need to find a host (a cell) to infect and take over their control center. (correct me if i'm wrong)

Re: Just a little (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44325547)

Most virus species carry only RNA, but not all of them. The type knowns as retroviruses carry DNA, and actually gene manipulate their host, making them really tough to get rid of. Examples are HIV and Hepatitis.

Re: Just a little (2)

jbengt (874751) | about a year ago | (#44326775)

Most viruses do carry RNA. But I believe retroviruses carry RNA also, and use reverse transcriptase to make DNA from the RNA, and then use regular transcription to make RNA for the virus. Retroviruses are just about impossible to get rid of if they integrate the DNA they make into the host genome along the way. According to Wikipedia, DNA viruses that first make RNA in the cell and then use reverse transcriptase to make DNA for the virus are called pararetroviruses.

Re:Just a little (3, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about a year ago | (#44326561)

Reading the article, I'm not sure if the scientist made the claim:

That life could have even come from another planet, like Mars. "At this point we cannot actually disprove or disregard this type of extreme scenario," he says.

So it seems like maybe the reporter posits that it came from Mars, and the scientist said, "Well we can't disprove that right now."

Re:Just a little (3, Interesting)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#44325897)

The team believes that the virus may carry the genes from a long-dead branch of the tree of life, one that possibly even started on Mars or somewhere else.

Other scientists are skeptical

No shit? That's one heck of an extraordinary claim right there. It'd be very fascinating if true, but that's going to need some strong evidence backing it. Either way, a virus of its size is still quite interesting.

Easy to prove. Just compare the genetic material in the virus to all the other life we've found on Mars (or somewhere else).

Re:Just a little (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44326675)

What is so extraordinary about life in space? I agree the guesswork on its origins is of no value but extraordinary it is not.

This disbelief against life everywhere feels very similar to what Copernicus was against when he proposed heliocentric model. Do we need to go through that shit again, can't you people learn from past mistakes? Earth is not the center of the universe, Milky Way or Solar System in any measurable way and that includes the capacity to carry life.

I don't mean we should skip the science and take life in space as a fact, but we need to stop defaulting to "Earth is the only place" before conclusive results.

Re:Just a little (1)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about a year ago | (#44326811)

It's almost certain that at least simple life exists on other planets, but it's bonkers to leap from finding genes you don't recognize on a planet full of life, to thinking they came from Mars. I understand people who are sitting around smoking pot and speculating like that, but scientists are supposed to apply sober reason to their conjectures.

I for one (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44324617)

Welcome our giant virus overlords.

Macrovirus? (2)

EzInKy (115248) | about a year ago | (#44324631)

Is it as large as this one? [nocookie.net]

Re:Macrovirus? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44324651)

Alright everyoby, time to play a game of "Fictional or Australian?"

Re:Macrovirus? (3, Funny)

EzInKy (115248) | about a year ago | (#44324715)

There is a difference?

Re:Macrovirus? (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#44324657)

I always thought those looked more like diatoms [berkeley.edu] , though I guess that doesn't sell as well.

Re:Macrovirus? (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | about a year ago | (#44324725)

Safe to say it was one of the dumbest Star Trek premises ever.

Re:Macrovirus? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#44324761)

I would agree with you if there weren't so many episodes that were worse—Threshold (VOY), Genesis (TNG), Twilight (ENT), Spock's Brain (TOS), The Omega Glory (TOS)... I'd also like to call special attention to Journey's End (TNG) for being the worst Wesley episode imaginable, but technically that's not a premise issue.

Re:Macrovirus? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44324901)

Who cares about Journey's End? It helped establish the Cardassians as the menace for DS9, which is by far the best trek. /flameon!

Re:Macrovirus? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#44328471)

Valid but minor—it is forever doomed to be remembered as "the episode where Wesley becomes a minor deity."

Analysing the Genetic Code Reveals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44324635)

I think they will find that an analysis of the genetic code will reveal a message: I'm being held prisoner in a ungaberry pie [wikia.com] factory owned by the Grand Nagus of the Ferengi Alliance. Send help!

Padoravirus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44324641)

Symptoms include: playing music from every artist, except the one you say you want.

Re:Padoravirus (1)

OakDragon (885217) | about a year ago | (#44328633)

...a terrifying name...

I was going to say, I think Pandavirus is a pretty *cute* name!

Might be familiar (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44324669)

I think I've seen this show [youtube.com] , or was it a different one? [youtube.com] Not sure.

No (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year ago | (#44325113)

No, you're thinking of this show. [youtube.com]

Re:Might be familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44328295)

More like this show [youtube.com]

"Pretty cool" !! (2)

ze_jua (910531) | about a year ago | (#44324675)

I agree with this judgment. It's precise, explicit. Scientific. I find that the LHC and the ISS are pretty cool stuff :-)

One micrometer (2)

Kwyj1b0 (2757125) | about a year ago | (#44324683)

It should have been in the summary, but the virus is about a micrometer in length. Which is cool, and huge. Just imagine - a a group of a few thousand, and it becomes visible to the naked eye.

Re:One micrometer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44324697)

A few thousand and you have a 1 mm line that's a few um thick. Still not visible to the naked eye.

Re:One micrometer (1)

Kwyj1b0 (2757125) | about a year ago | (#44324751)

A few thousand and you have a 1 mm line that's a few um thick. Still not visible to the naked eye.

Which is what I meant by a group - not a line of a few thousand, but just a jumble. 0.1mm should be visible to the naked eye.

Re:One micrometer (3, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#44325283)

Coincidentally, there was a Brian Cox doco on last night that mentioned the world's smallest insect, a wasp that measures 0.4mm, my 54yo eyes couldn't detect them but he described them as "very fine specs of dust". So a rough estimate says a young pair of eyes could pick out a group of less than 500 individuals. According to the same doco, if you exclude viruses from the tree of life then there is roughly 22 orders of magnitude between the largest trees and the smallest microbes. Basically the megavirus and wasp's sizes are less than three orders of magnitude apart, which is quite incredible since I'm used to thinking of viruses as basically large molecules (IIRC the smallest known viruses are composed of a mere 10,000 atoms).

discovered a the worst editing (2)

mirix (1649853) | about a year ago | (#44324709)

"Researchers in France have discovered a the worlds largest virus and given it a terrifying name: Pandoravirus.

We can't even have the first sentence of a submission checked now?

Re:discovered a the worst editing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44324825)

But using a the [in]definite determiner is cool now!

Re:discovered a the worst editing (3, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#44324863)

Well, you didn't spot the lack of an apostrophe in "worlds." Maybe editing is tougher than it looks ;)

Re:discovered a the worst editing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44324959)

If we are to fret over editing, perhaps the fact that the statement is almost certainly false would be relevant? They discovered the largest known virus; they are rather sure that it is not the largest overall (that's actually even mentioned in the article).

Re:discovered a the worst editing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44325101)

If we are to fret over editing, perhaps the fact that the statement is almost certainly false would be relevant? They discovered the largest known virus

If we are to fret over semantics, perhaps the fact that by definition it's impossible to discover something known?

Re:discovered a the worst editing (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#44330107)

And how would you phrase it? Once discovered the virus is known. And of the set of currently known viruses, it is the largest.

Re:discovered a the worst editing (1)

steelfood (895457) | about a year ago | (#44329929)

Maybe editing is tougher than it looks ;)

Which is why there are job titles named, appropriately, editors.

Re:discovered a the worst editing (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#44326077)

"Researchers in France have discovered a the worlds largest virus and given it a terrifying name: Pandoravirus.

We can't even have the first sentence of a submission checked now?

Maybe there's more than one "the worlds largest virus".

Re:discovered a the worst editing (1)

bytesex (112972) | about a year ago | (#44326853)

The editor's computer was infected by the world's largest computervirus.

Re:discovered a the worst editing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44327069)

The editor's computer was infected by the world's largest computervirus.

Microsoftwindowsbox?

Hoip! (3, Insightful)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | about a year ago | (#44324721)

Another example of how great marketing helps get your research funded. The reason this is being widely reported is because they chose a cool name. Pandoravirus. But how does Pandora's box come into this? When it comes to viruses bigger is lamer so size doesn't matter. It is not a threat to people nor anyone else except amoebas. The origins speculation is interesting, but this whole thing is being hyped up by the researchers. And possibly by the amoebas.

Re:Hoip! (1)

cnettel (836611) | about a year ago | (#44325151)

RTFA, they believe the size makes it look like juicy food.

Re:Hoip! (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year ago | (#44325839)

RTFA, they believe the size makes it look like juicy food.

Kind of hard to RTFA when it is behind a paywall...

Re:Hoip! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44325153)

If Koonin's hypothesis is correct, it's a giant katamari that collects genes from the hosts it passes through. Pandora is a good name for that. Pan-dora was given "all the gifts" from all the gods, she just happened to open the wrong cornu copiae.

Re:Hoip! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44325873)

No. This is being widely reported because the genome sizes of these two viruses are the biggest known by a huge margin. That and the fact that it was published in Science.

Re:Hoip! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44325987)

Nah, it's named Pandora after the giant planet full of riches in that James Cameron movie. THAT Pandora was named after the box.

Re:Hoip! (1)

Fieryphoenix (1161565) | about a year ago | (#44326435)

Nah, it's named Pandora after the crappy planet full of guns in that Gearbox game. THAT Pandora was named after the James Cameron movie.

Re:Hoip! (1)

Notabadguy (961343) | about a year ago | (#44326377)

Not to worry. Megavirus had to be outdone by Pandoravirus. The next genus of virus will have to outdo the last, and so on.

I forsee the following names for future virus discoveries, in this order:

  Megavirus
  Pandoravirus
-Epicvirus
-Gigantivirus
-Galactavirus (who later becomes a galaxy spanning super villian virus and renames himself Galactavus, or Galactus)
-Universalvirus
-Gigantovirus
-OMGWTFITSHUGEvirus
-Omegavirus
And the final genus to be discovered will be named "Tiddlywinks." Yep.

Best read with a Thomas Dolby intonation (5, Funny)

Empiric (675968) | about a year ago | (#44324729)

... one that possibly even started on Mars or somewhere else.

Science.

mode parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44324763)

thread over. *clinks glass to you sir*

Re:Best read with a Thomas Dolby intonation (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about a year ago | (#44327705)

I'm not saying it was aliens but...

Pandoravirus isn't such a terrifying name (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44324737)

I think if you wanted to really terrify people, you'd name it Pandora's Pox.

"Terrifying Name" May Not Be So Intended (3, Informative)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#44324819)

Pandora is a Greek compound meaning all gifts (pan, as in pantheon--all the gods + dora, pl., as in Theodore--a gift of God). Just an FYI. I'd give the actual Greek but, alas, unicode support on /. does not have the greatest reputation. I see the term thrown about in literature sometimes, and I the think intent can be missed because folks only know the story from Hesiod. I suspect this is what Cameron had in mind when he thus christened the planetary home of his Lakota, er, Powhatan's Algonquin, ah... no, Na'vi, yeah that's what he called the sympathetic characters in his highly original film.

Re:"Terrifying Name" May Not Be So Intended (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44324835)

Lakota, er, Powhatan's Algonquin, ah... no, Na'vi, yeah that's what he called the sympathetic characters in his highly original film.

LOLOLOLOLOL.

Shut the fuck up.

Re:"Terrifying Name" May Not Be So Intended (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44325197)

Shit the fuck up yourself.

Only shit is coming from your mouth.

Make sure you sit the right way around, the next time you're logging on to Slashdot.

Re:"Terrifying Name" May Not Be So Intended (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44325881)

it's greek gods. they're all sons of bitches and pranksters. they torture whistleblowers and play with human destinies for shits'n'giggles, so gifts from them...

Re:"Terrifying Name" May Not Be So Intended (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44327955)

Beware of greek gods bearing gifts?!

Re:"Terrifying Name" May Not Be So Intended (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#44330175)

What, you didn't think the phrase originated with the Trojan Horse did you? That incident actually begot the phrase "Beware of Trojans, they're smegging dumbasses", which for some reason didn't withstand the test of time.

Pandora Virus (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44324831)

Unfortunately ancient myth didn't jump to my mind, but strange huge carbon nanofibre enhanced virii that are extremely hard to kill and wants to kill you and eat your eyes for jujubees
and then i thought of the cure
unobtainicillin

damn you james cameron

Small threat to people? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44324911)

The summary says,

"NPR reports it doesn't pose a threat to people"

but the article doesn't say that.

The article says,

... doesn't pose a major threat to human health. "This is not going to cause any kind of widespread and acute illness or epidemic or anything, ..."

Re:Small threat to people? (2)

cnettel (836611) | about a year ago | (#44325161)

The article, as in scientific paper, is quite clear on this. There is no signs that anything close to vertebrates are infectable.

from mars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44325025)

From NPR: "We believe that those new Pandoraviruses have emerged from a new ancestral cellular type that no longer exists," he says. That life could have even come from another planet, like Mars. "At this point we cannot actually disprove or disregard this type of extreme scenario," he says.

This seems like a journalist putting words into the mouth of a scientist, the entire Mars thing is not even hinted at in the Science article. Can we have a science related posting here without getting Mars, aliens, or total world destruction involved?

Re:from mars... (1)

betterprimate (2679747) | about a year ago | (#44325503)

This too. It seems astounding such a narrative would be chosen. We know more about Mars than we do about our own oceans. I feel the oceanographer's pain now; constantly spoken over, ignored, and dismissed. No matter what, their cause just can't getting any love... despite our oceans being the most beautifully unknown and alluring ecosystem/world/etc in the whole universe.

The ocean's alone contain genetic time capsules; viruses and monsters.

Re:from mars... (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#44326593)

We know more about Mars than we do about our own oceans.

Really? We haven't managed to explore more than 60 kilometers of the ocean yet? Are you sure?

Re:from mars... (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#44327741)

Sorry, but that statement is still annoying me. Maybe it's the headache I woke up with, I don't know. Scoop a random sample of water, mud, fish tissue, whatever, out of any ocean. Take it to Woods Hole and in a day you'll know more about that ocean than we know about the entire surface of Mars, Venus, Mercury, Europa, and Titan combined. We know comparatively little about their atmospheres, and nothing at all about their subsurface.

our oceans being the most beautifully unknown and alluring ecosystem/world/etc in the currently known universe

FTFY

This is old news (4, Funny)

shikaisi (1816846) | about a year ago | (#44325387)

The world's largest virus was discovered a long time ago. It's called Windows 8.

Re:This is old news (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44326447)

Yeah but it's from the Vista branch of DNA, that branch is not yet extinct!

Re:This is old news (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44328783)

I found an old Windows ME box in Lake Vostok.

Hittin' the pipe. (1)

betterprimate (2679747) | about a year ago | (#44325413)

"'We believe that those new Pandoraviruses have emerged from a new ancestral cellular type that no longer exists,' he says. That life could have even come from another planet, like Mars. 'At this point we cannot actually disprove or disregard this type of extreme scenario,' he says."

i.e. Obama is a lizard person and Jesus was a free market capitalist!... At this point I cannot actually disprove or disregard this type of extreme scenario.

His first statement is just right but where does he get some Mars-born virus from? I see nothing that substantiates such a claim. This guy is hitting the pipe too hard.

Re:Hittin' the pipe. (1)

betterprimate (2679747) | about a year ago | (#44325433)

Yes, I know, it's "borne" and not "born".... suck it, "grammer" nazis!

Mars? (0)

betterprimate (2679747) | about a year ago | (#44325511)

Most likely this virus has come from the oceans' depths.

Re:Mars? (2)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#44325917)

Most likely this virus has come from the oceans' depths...

... of mars.

Another theory (1)

Zorpheus (857617) | about a year ago | (#44326047)

In the linked npr article it is suspected that amoebas could mistake this virus for a bacteria because of its size and try to eat it. This way the virus would infect the amoeba.
If the size developed only for this most of the genetic material in it could be totally random and meaningless.

Re:Another theory (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44326709)

In the linked npr article it is suspected that amoebas could mistake this virus for a bacteria because of its size and try to eat it. This way the virus would infect the amoeba. If the size developed only for this most of the genetic material in it could be totally random and meaningless.

In that case, it most likely would be multiple copies of DNA sequences already in the virus. Or multiple copies of a normal sized genome in an extra-large case.

tl:dr (1)

PuppiesAndGoats (2895817) | about a year ago | (#44326093)

Allow me to summarize:

Apparently, scientists understand marketing.
Viruses are not as small as we once thought they were.

Bonus fun fact: amoebas are dumb.

A readable version for all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44326467)

Here you can read an article this virus:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/07/18/203298244/worlds-biggest-virus-may-have-ancient-roots
Captcha: adopting

It's a trap! (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | about a year ago | (#44326591)

Probably engineered by the Tnuctipun.

Re:It's a trap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44327105)

When it envelops a tree-of-life virus, who knows what will happen.

Mimiviruses, related to what? (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44326671)

Summary is misleading. It's not just one species of virus. The article abstract says they found TWO species of these Pandoraviruses. The "possibly started on Mars" is just hype. There's exactly zero evidence of that.

I suspect that in the long term, they'll find abundant evidence that they're related (perhaps not closely) to every other kind of life on Earth. Especially since they are viruses. Viruses can only target particular species of cells and would quickly become extinct in the absense of those species. How could they evolve the ability to infect Earth life on Mars? That makes no sense. If something was going to make it here from another planet and establish itself in our ecosphere, it wouldn't be viruses or any other species that depends on the presence of some particular species already being here.

Descolada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44327413)

Better figure out how to turn into a tree before its too late.

cmon you autists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44328197)

why has nobody mentioned Snowcrash? The Metavirus came from outer space, and can be transmitted from blood, sex, drugs, pictures (bitmaps), hell even auditory. Namshub of Enki here, biatches.

Misread as "Pandavirus" lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44328665)

Gives you terrible bags under the eyes

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