Revival of long-dormant viruses that infect bacteria
Viruses trapped beneath permafrost for millions of years might revive as the Earth warms. The release of these ancient viruses may directly affect the population dynamics of present-day hosts. The EU-funded PermAVirThaw project aims to find out which viruses are archived in permafrost and which hosts they can infect. Viruses infecting plants and animals might pose major economic and human health threats. The project will find out how the presence and abundance of these viruses varies with permafrost age and type across the Arctic. It will also quantify the capacity of viral particles extracted from permafrost to infect present-day bacteria, and measure their impact on the role that bacteria play in carbon cycling.