Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

The Virus that Couldn't Choose

Researchers from Portland State University in Oregon have recently discovered a new type of viral genome, reports Helen Thompson at the Nature News blog. It is a "hybrid" genome "that seems to be the product of recombination between a DNA virus and an RNA virus." The study, published recently in Biology Direct, describes this "natural chimera" that lives in Boiling Springs Lake, an acidic volcanic hot spring in California, Thompson says. The team did a metagenomic analysis of samples from the lake to get a better picture of the viruses present there. But they found something surprising, Thompson says — a piece of DNA coding for a protein that has, until now, only been found in RNA viruses. After sequencing and analyzing the rest of the viral fragments in their samples, the researchers were able to reconstruct this new virus' complete genome. "In the genome, the RNA-like sequence sat adjacent to another sequence for a replication protein that is unique to DNA viruses," Thompson adds. "The resultant single-stranded circular genome, dubbed BSL RDHV (short for Boiling Springs Lake RNA-DNA hybrid virus), seems to be the result of a recombination event between two completely unrelated virus groups." The researchers still aren't sure how the recombination happened.

Daily Scan's sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study.

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.