Scientists discover viruses that secretly rule the world’s oceans

Thousands of mysterious viruses recently lurking in the world’s oceans could have a huge impact on ecosystems, in part by “reprogramming” the hosts that infect them, scientists reported.

The new research, published Thursday (June 9) in the journal Science (opens in new tab)targets viruses that RNA, a molecular cousin of DNA. Examples of RNA viruses abound in human diseases; for example, coronaviruses and influenza viruses are both RNA based. However, when it comes to the RNA viruses in the ocean, scientists are just learning about the variety that can be found and the range of hosts that can infect them.

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