Viruses appear to be a part of nature’s dog-eat-dog environment. Researchers recently discovered evidence that some microscopic creatures actively consume viruses.
Even though this might be the first “virovore” ever recorded, the team believes that many more probably exist.
In the most basic sense, viruses are exceedingly small genetic material bundles.
The fierce and ongoing debate over whether viruses should be considered living things has resulted from the fact that, despite performing many biological functions, such as replicating themselves, viruses must infect and commandeer the machinery of cells belonging to other organisms in order to do so. This parasitic state of being has led to a fierce and ongoing debate.
Whatever their precise definition, viruses are essential to the life cycles of all other animals and humans alike.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers appear to be the first to look into the possibility that viruses could be on the menu.
They were familiar with chloroviruses from their earlier study, which are prevalent in freshwater and infect green algae.
They questioned if any species that live in water have ever used viruses as a source of energy.
They first took pond water samples to test their theory. Then they introduced as many different kinds of microscopic creatures as they could into the water.
Then they added a lot of chlorovirus to the water and let it sit for a day to see if anything happened.
“If this is happening at the scale that we think it could be, it should completely change our view on global carbon cycling,” lead author John DeLong, an associate professor of biological sciences, said in a statement.
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