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It’s… alive! Scientists discover GIANT viruses that blur line between the living & the dead
Researchers who sifted through human saliva, animal feces, and various water sources have found hundreds of giant viruses with unique abilities we've never seen before, blurring the definition of what it means to be alive.
The international team, led by scientists from University of California, Berkeley discovered this new class of giant phages (viruses that infect bacteria) that can have almost four times the number of genomes typically found in phages, with some reaching as much as 15 times normal size, with 735,000 bases of DNA.
Not only are they massive but these giant viruses are also advanced (relatively speaking) as they also boast the cellular machinery that reads and executes DNA instructions to build proteins, also known as translation. This particular ability throws into question our current understanding of both viruses and indeed our scientific definition of ‘life’ itself.