30,000 Year Old Virus Revived from Permafrost

(p. D5) From Siberian permafrost more than 30,000 years old, [French and Russian researchers] have revived a virus that’s new to science.
“To pull out a virus that’s 30,000 years old and actually grow it, that’s pretty impressive,” said Scott O. Rogers of Bowling Green State University who was not involved in the research. “This goes well beyond what anyone else has done.”
. . .
Measuring 1.5 micrometers long, the viruses are 25 percent bigger than any virus previously found.
. . .
“Sixty percent of its gene content doesn’t resemble anything on earth,” Dr. Abergel said. She and her colleagues suspect that pithoviruses may be parasitic survivors of life forms that were very common early in the history of life.
. . .
“Its potential implications for evolutionary theory and health are quite astonishing,” said Eske Willerslev, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Copenhagen.

For the full story, see:
Carl Zimmer. “Out of Siberian Ice, a Virus Revived.” The New York Times (Tues., MARCH 4, 2014): D5.
(Note: ellipses, and bracketed words, added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date MARCH 3, 2014.)

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