Jul 30 2014

Discovery of a new intestinal virus

 

Scientists have discovered a previously unknown virus that lives in the human gut, according to a study published in Nature Communications.

An international team of scientists discovered the virus in CrAssphage genetic material from samples of intestine. Scientists believe the virus can affect the behavior of some of the most common bacteria in the intestinal flora.

Experts explain that these types of viruses called bacteriophages play an important role in chronic diseases. Leading a team from the State University at San Diego, USA, “clears” the genetic information that is stored in three large international databases.

They fall on the portion of the DNA to be detected in more than half of all the samples. Further analysis found that the virus has not been detected so far.

Scientists explain that it has a genetic fingerprint of the bacteriophage – type virus, which is known to infect the bacteria. It can control the behavior of bacteria that it affects – in some cases making it easier to live in the environment in which they are located, and may make the bacteria more powerful.

Scientists are trying to grow the virus in the laboratory. They explain that the next step will be to establish exactly the way in which the virus affects intestinal bacteria.