Ancient Pathogens Emerging from Melting Ice and Permafrost Risk Eroding Ecosystems; Computer Simulation Shows Release of Only 1% of Dormant Pathogens Could Cause Major Environmental Damage and Widespread Loss of Host Organisms Around the World

Climate change could hasten the release of ‘time-travelling’ pathogens from melting permafrost and ice that have been trapped for millennia. Their emergence increases threats to the global environment and even humanity itself. While melting glaciers and permafrost risk the re-emergence of many types of dormant pathogens, the potential destruction to modern ecosystems posed by these microbes has been difficult to predict. But a new global study by Dr. Giovanni Strona of the European Commision Joint Research Centre, and Matthew Flinders Professor of Global Ecology Corey Bradshaw from Flinders University in Australia, published on July 27, 2023 with colleagues in the open-access journal PLoS Computational Biology, has calculated the ecological risks posed by the release of these unpredictable ancient microbes. The article is titled “Time-Travelling Pathogens and Their Risk to Ecological Communities.”

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