With the melting of Tibetan glaciers, not only are ancient megafauna surfacing, but also viruses hidden in the ice for centuries, reports sciencealert.com.
Scientists have found that Tibetan glaciers, melting due to climate change, are releasing viruses up to 15,000 years old into the atmosphere.
A study conducted on the Tibetan Plateau revealed a collection of unique viruses in samples obtained from the Ghulia Ice Cap. These viruses, preserved in millennia-old ice, are now being scrutinized for their potential impact on the environment and humanity.
As glaciers melt, ancient microbes and viruses are being released, possibly due to climate change. Scientists employ modern techniques to analyze the genetic information of viruses and assess their effects on the environment.
Particular attention is given to bacteriophages infecting Methylobacterium bacteria, crucial players in the methane cycle within ice.
These viruses have the potential to influence microorganisms and ecosystem processes deep within the Earth.
Experts express concerns not only about potential threats to human health but also about the broader impact of released viruses on climate and ecological systems.
These ancient viruses may provide insights into past climate change and viral evolution, serving as warnings about potential future threats.
Thus, the melting of glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau reveals new dimensions of the relationship between ancient viruses, climate change, and the environment. It underscores the integral role of nature in the intricate processes occurring on our planet.