Scientists have discovered in Brazil a new virus in which there are no previously known genes. This was written by ScienceAlert with reference to experts from the Federal University in Brazil.
The new virus, called Yaravirus brasiliensis, is 90% composed of genes unknown to science. It was discovered in the artificial lake Pampulha in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte and got its name in honor of the water nymph Yara from the mythology of the peoples of South America.
Brazilian scientists believe that for the first time they encountered a similar unknown and isolated group of viruses, which probably gathered into one large enough virus and subsequently evolved into a reduced form.
Only six genes found in the Yaravirus brasiliensis virus bore a distant resemblance to the known viral genes that have ever been documented in public scientific databases.
Giant viruses, which can reach sizes comparable to a bacterial cell, were discovered only in the 21st century. They have DNA that exceeds 200 thousand base pairs and often contains the so-called orphan genes (ORFan), which are not found in other groups of organisms. At the same time, scientists still do not understand whether Yaravirus brasiliensis, which consists almost entirely of ORFan, can be classified as a giant virus.