The coronavirus pandemic made the world doomed to viruses, just like there is no time to remember, but new evidence shows that even in our body, humans have never noticed the scope of the virus.
A new database project compiled by scientists has identified more than 140,000 virus species present in the human intestines-given that more than half of these viruses were previously unknown to the scientific community, this huge catalog is even more shocking.
If thousands of newly discovered viruses sound like shocking developments, that is completely understandable. The researchers said, but we should not misunderstand what these viruses within us actually represent.
Alexandre Almeida, a biochemist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s Institute of Bioinformatics (EMBL-EBI) and the Wellcome Sanger Institute, explained: “It’s important to remember that Not all viruses are harmful, but they represent an integral part of the gut ecosystem.”
“These samples are mainly from healthy individuals who have not shared any specific diseases.”
By analyzing more than 28,000 individual metagenomes (DNA sequencing records of publicly available gut microbiome samples collected from 28 countries) and nearly 2,900 reference genomes of cultured gut bacteria, a new virus catalog (called gut Phage database).
The results showed that the 142,809 virus species that exist in the human intestine constitute a special virus called bacteriophages. In addition to single-celled organisms called archaea, they can also infect bacteria.
In the mysterious environment of the intestinal microbiome-inhabited by a variety of microscopic microorganisms full of bacteria and viruses-bacteriophages are believed to play an important role in regulating the health of bacteria and the human intestine itself.
The researchers wrote in the new paper: “Bacteriophages… by acting as a carrier for horizontal gene transfer, encoding auxiliary functions that are beneficial to host bacterial species, and promoting dynamic co-evolutionary interactions, have a profound impact on microbial communities.”
For a long time, our understanding of this phenomenon has come to a halt due to our limited understanding of the types of bacteriophages.
In recent years, new developments in metagenomics analysis have greatly expanded our understanding of the virus variants being studied here. Perhaps only the intestinal phage database is the case. Researchers describe it as “the large-scale diversity of human intestinal phage Expansion “”.
The study author wrote: “As far as we know, this set represents the most comprehensive and complete set of human gut phage genomes to date.”
“Having a comprehensive database of high-quality phage genomes paves the way for large-scale analysis of human enteroviruses with greatly improved resolution, linking specific virus clades with unique microbiome phenotypes.”
The database is already updating our understanding of virus behavior.
Studies have shown that more than one-third (36%) of virus clusters are not limited to infecting a single bacteria, which means that they can establish gene flow networks between phylogenically different bacterial species.
In addition, the researchers found 280 virus clusters distributed globally, including a newly discovered clade called Gubaphage, which seems to be the second most prevalent virus clade in the human intestine, second only to the crAssphage group.
Considering some similarities between the two, the researchers initially thought that Gubaphage might belong to the proposed crAssphage-like virus family, and then determined that the clades are different.
There is still a lot to learn, not only about macrophages, but there are more viruses than we dare to dream of. Thanks to this kind of research work, tomorrow’s discoveries are getting closer and new insights will be faster and faster.
Trevor Lauley, a microbiologist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said: “Phage research is currently undergoing a renaissance.”
“This high-quality, large-scale catalog of human enteroviruses appears in due course and can be used as a blueprint to guide ecological and evolutionary analysis in future virological research.”
The findings are reported in cell.