Scientists discover viruses that secretly rule the world’s oceans

Thousands of mysterious viruses that have recently been discovered in the world’s oceans could exert enormous influence on ecosystems, in part by “reprogramming” the hosts they infect, scientists have reported.

The new research, published Thursday, June 9 in the journal Science (opens in a new tab)focuses on viruses that contain RNA, a molecular cousin of DNA. Examples of RNA viruses abound in human disease; for example, coronavirus and flu viruses are both RNA-based. However, when it comes to RNA viruses in the ocean, scientists are just discovering the variety that can be found and the range of hosts that they can infect.

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