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New giant virus (proteins don’t resemble predecessor)

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big viruses/IGS CNRS/AMU

From ScienceDaily,:

The virus takes the form of a roughly spherical particle, approximately 0.6 μm long, containing a genome of approximately 650,000 base pairs coding for more than 500 proteins. Most of these proteins bear no resemblance to those of its Siberian predecessor, Pithovirus sibericum. Furthermore, unlike Pithovirus, which only requires the cytoplasmic resources of its cellular host to multiply, Mollivirus sibericum uses the cell nucleus to replicate in the amoeba, which makes it as host-dependent as most “small” viruses. This strategy, and other specific traits, such as a deficiency in certain key enzymes that allow synthesis of its DNA building blocks, mean that Mollivirus sibericum is more similar to the common viral types, including human pathogens such as Adenovirus, Papillomavirus, or Herpesvirus. Pithovirus, on the other hand, replicates in the cytoplasm in the same way as Poxvirus, a family that counts the now officially eradicated smallpox virus. In terms of its shape, mode of replication and metabolism, Mollivirus sibericum thus represents a new type of virus never previously observed and distinct from the three giant virus families discovered to date.

Note: What does “officially eradicated” mean in the paragraph above, as opposed to what happened to T. Rex?

This discovery, which suggests that giant viruses are not so rare and are highly diversified, also proves that the ability of viruses to survive in the permafrost for very long periods is not restricted to a particular viral type, but probably covers viral families with varied — and hence potentially pathogenic — replication strategies. More.

See also: Devolution: Getting back to the simple life

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3 Replies to “New giant virus (proteins don’t resemble predecessor)

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note:

    A glimpse into nature’s looking glass — to find the genetic code is reassigned: Stop codon varies widely – May 22, 2014
    Excerpt: While a few examples of organisms deviating from this canonical code had been serendipitously discovered before, these were widely thought of as very rare evolutionary oddities, absent from most places on Earth and representing a tiny fraction of species. Now, this paradigm has been challenged by the discovery of large numbers of exceptions from the canonical genetic code,,,
    Approximately 99% of all microbial species on Earth fall in this category, defying culture in the laboratory but profoundly influencing the most significant environmental processes from plant growth and health, to the carbon and other nutrient cycles on land and sea, and even climate processes.,,,
    “We were surprised to find that an unprecedented number of bacteria in the wild possess these codon reassignments, from “stop” to amino-acid encoding “sense,” up to 10 percent of the time in some environments,” said Rubin.
    Another observation the researchers made was that beyond bacteria, these reassignments were also happening in phage, viruses that attack bacterial cells.,,,
    The punch line, Rubin said, is that the dogma is wrong.
    “Phage apparently don’t really ‘care’ about the codon usage of the host.


    Finding such widespread variations from the canonical code, even among viruses, is hardly a minor problem for Darwinian explanations (i.e. just so stories). Dawkins just about had a cow when Venter told him the genetic code was not universal:

    Dr. Craig Venter Denies Common Descent in front of Richard Dawkins! – video
    Quote: “I think the tree of life is an artifact of some early scientific studies that aren’t really holding up.,, So there is not a tree of life. In fact from our deep sequencing of organisms in the ocean, out of, now we have about 60 million different unique gene sets, we found 12 that look like a very, very deep branching—perhaps fourth domain of life. ”
    – Dr. Craig Venter, American Biologist involved in sequencing the human genome

    Venter vs. Dawkins on the Tree of Life – and Another Dawkins Whopper – March 2011
    Excerpt:,,, But first, let’s look at the reason Dawkins gives for why the code must be universal:
    “The reason is interesting. Any mutation in the genetic code itself (as opposed to mutations in the genes that it encodes) would have an instantly catastrophic effect, not just in one place but throughout the whole organism. If any word in the 64-word dictionary changed its meaning, so that it came to specify a different amino acid, just about every protein in the body would instantaneously change, probably in many places along its length. Unlike an ordinary mutation…this would spell disaster.” (2009, p. 409-10)
    OK. Keep Dawkins’ claim of universality in mind, along with his argument for why the code must be universal, and then go here (linked site listing 23 variants of the genetic code).
    Simple counting question: does “one or two” equal 23? That’s the number of known variant genetic codes compiled by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. By any measure, Dawkins is off by an order of magnitude, times a factor of two.

    “Because of Shannon channel capacity that previous (first) codon alphabet had to be at least as complex as the current codon alphabet (DNA code), otherwise transferring the information from the simpler alphabet into the current alphabet would have been mathematically impossible”
    Donald E. Johnson – Bioinformatics: The Information in Life

    On the following site, Perry Marshall directly compares Claude Shannon’s communication model and Hubert Yockey’s DNA communication model. Notice that Yockey’s model contains the exact same components as Shannon’s – the two systems are ‘isomorphic’.

    The Origin of Information: How to Solve It – Perry Marshall (Shannon Channel Capacity)
    Where did the information in DNA come from? This is one of the most important and valuable questions in the history of science. Cosmic Fingerprints has issued a challenge to the scientific community:
    “Show an example of Information that doesn’t come from a mind. All you need is one.”
    “Information” is defined as digital communication between an encoder and a decoder, using agreed upon symbols. To date, no one has shown an example of a naturally occurring encoding / decoding system, i.e. one that has demonstrably come into existence without a designer.
    A private equity investment group is offering a technology prize for this discovery. We will financially reward and publicize the first person who can solve this;,,, To solve this problem is far more than an object of abstract religious or philosophical discussion. It would demonstrate a mechanism for producing coding systems, thus opening up new channels of scientific discovery. Such a find would have sweeping implications for Artificial Intelligence research.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    semi related:

    podcast – Dr. Richard Sternberg: Whale Evolution and Living Waters, Pt. 2
    Sternberg critiques conventional accounts of whale evolution, noting that both natural selection and neutral drift cannot explain the transition between a land mammal and a fully aquatic whale. Standard evolutionary models would either require very large breeding population sizes (greater than that of any species of mammals) or a waiting period four or more times longer than the given 8-9 million years.
    Here is Part 1 for those who missed it:

  3. 3
    Andre says:

    So if climate change does not kill you, then as a result of climate change these Virus’s will, man am I tired of this worlds scare mongering!

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