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Scientists fear flu epidemic of fish

October 19 2011

Scientists fear epidemics of influenza fish. 19999.jpeg In the South Pacific, the Chilean coast near the town of Tabora team of French scientists from the University of Aix-Marseille (Aix-Marseille Université) to collect samples of biological material in the sea. Last week it published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the results of their research.

Considering one of the samples in the laboratory of Las Cruces at the Catholic University of Chile, scientists have discovered a giant virus, named for its location Megavirus chilensis. This virus was about 10-20 more than found in 1992 in England, "mimivirus", which still bore the title of champion.

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Dimensions are megavirusa diameter 0.7 micrometers (thousandths of a millimeter), or 600 nanometers in diameter. For the microcosm is so much value that, in order to see him, do not need an electron microscope, using a simple day with backlight.

The first analysis carried out in a French university, not only did not confirm its size and nature of the virus, but showed that he has characteristics typical of the higher molecular entities. Megavirus has far more genes than usual, allowing it to rapidly mutate and evolve. It has the characteristics possessed by bacteria or even eukariticheskie cells (the simplest type of cells present in more complex organisms such as plants and animals).

In further studies, the French, that the virus DNA consists of a 1.26 million base pairs and encodes 1120 proteins, of which 594 are similar to proteins of other viruses, and 258 (23%) have no analogues. That number was more than enough to trigger the infection. In this case, the French were infected freshwater amoeba.

"Everything starts with a single cell targeted by the virus, then it grows, grows and turns into a plant for production of virions (particles that infect)," - explained Jean-Michel Claver, one of the researchers researcher at the University of Aix-Marseille. He explained that the feature megavirusa is that due to its genotype, it is not only able to penetrate and infect someone else's body, but also mutate it, improving, such as bacteria.

Although scientists avoid spreading panic, saying that megavirus not pathogenic to humans, but do not deny its ability to rapid evolution, and therefore unpredictable behavior.

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