Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

In the Ice

Researchers have uncovered more than two dozen unknown ancient viruses within a 15,000-year-old Tibetan glacier, according to Cosmos magazine

An Ohio State University-led team adapted sample handling procedures to ensure that their ice core samples from the Guliya ice cap were free of contaminants. As they report in the journal Microbiome, the researchers uncovered common glacier-ice bacteria like Janthinobacterium, Polaromonas, Herminiimonas, and more, but their metagenomics analysis also found 28 novel viruses.

These viruses, the researchers note, likely infect the bacteria in their sample. Based on host prediction analyses, they linked 18 of their unknown viruses to co-occurring bacteria. They also report that the viruses harbor genes to help them survived  cold environments.

The findings, Cosmos magazine notes, raise questions about whether previously unknown viruses might be released as ice caps and glaciers melt due to climate change. "We know very little about viruses and microbes in these extreme environments, and what is actually there," senior author Lonnie Thompson from Ohio State says in a statement. "The documentation and understanding of that is extremely important: How do bacteria and viruses respond to climate change? What happens when we go from an ice age to a warm period like we're in now?"

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.