July 20, 2021

15,000-year-old viruses discovered in Tibetan glacier ice

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2021-07-20 20:00:05

July 20, 2021

by Laura Arenschield, The Ohio State University

Scientists who study glacier ice have found viruses nearly 15,000 years old in two ice samples taken from the Tibetan Plateau in China. Most of those viruses, which survived because they had remained frozen, are unlike any viruses that have been cataloged to date.

The findings, published today in the journal Microbiome, could help scientists understand how viruses have evolved over centuries. For this study, the scientists also created a new, ultra-clean method of analyzing microbes and viruses in ice without contaminating it.

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