Saturday, July 20, 2013

A fourth domain of life?

There are, apparently, three commonly accepted types of life, known as domains: Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukaryotes which is the domain that consists of plants and animals.  But recently scientists, examining what they thought were "jumbo viruses", made revolutionary discoveries that suggest there might be a fourth domain. Here's one of the co-authors of an important study of these jumbo viruses:
"These viruses have more than 2,000 new genes coding for proteins and enzymes that do unknown things, and participate in unknown metabolic pathways," explained virologist and study coauthor Chantel Abergel, who is also at CNRS. "Elucidating their biochemical and regulatory functions might be of a tremendous interest for biotech and biomedical applications," she added.
This interesting, and very informative, article can be found here. As an aside, when I saw the title of the article, my first thought was that they were studying politicians! Heh heh!