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Scientists discover new virus with genes that do not match any recorded in the past: Report

The virus is named after Yara or Iara, a water-queen figure in Brazilian mythology that is usually depicted as a water nymph. The report quoted researchers saying that it constitutes "a new lineage of an amoebal virus with a puzzling origin and phylogeny."

February 11, 2020 / 02:50 PM IST

Scientists have recently discovered a species of virus whose genome has reportedly never been documented in viral research before.

According to a report by  sciencealert, the virus is called the Yaravirus and was recovered from Lake Pampulha, an artificial lake in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte.

The virus is named after Yara or Iara,  a water-queen figure in Brazilian mythology that is usually depicted as a water nymph. The report quoted researchers saying that it constitutes "a new lineage of an amoebal virus with a puzzling origin and phylogeny."

The Yara virus comprises of small 80 nm-sized particles and has a unique genome. It does not have a single giant particle or a complex genome but carries a significant number of previously undescribed genes. Since viruses like the Yaravirus have not been described before, due to which they are called orphan genes ‘ORFan’ viruses.

Scientists are yet to conclude the nature or category of the Yaravirus but expect it to be a distant kind of giant virus that may somehow have evolved into a reduced form. They are expected to reveal further details about the virus as its research progresses.

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first published: Feb 10, 2020 07:53 pm
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