Scientists discover viruses that secretly rule the world’s oceans

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

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

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