A Newly Identified Virus Emerges from the Deep

The Mariana Trench, the deepest place on Earth, plunges nearly 11,000 meters (6.8 miles) at its lowest point on the floor of the Pacific Ocean. Life persists in the deep and cold darkness, and “wherever there’s life, you can bet there are regulators at work,” said marine virologist Min Wang, PhD, at the Ocean University of China, in Qingdao, China. “Viruses, in this case.” On September 20, 2023 in Microbiology Spectrum, Dr. Wang and an international group of researchers report the discovery of a new virus isolated from sediment brought up from a depth of 8,900 meters. The virus is a bacteriophage, or a virus that infects and replicates inside bacteria, and bacteriophages are believed to be the most abundant life forms on the planet. “To our best knowledge, this is the deepest known isolated phage in the global ocean,” said Dr. Wang. The open-access article is titled “Identification and Genomic Analysis of Temperate Halomonas Bacteriophage vB_HmeY_H4907 from the Surface Sediment of the Mariana Trench at a Depth of 8,900 m.”
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