Virus Found in Gut Believed to Exist in Over 50 Percent of World Population

Scientists Have Found Virus in Gut Believed to Exist in Over 50 Percent of World Population

Scientists at San Diego State University have found a virus in the gut that is believed to exist in over 50 percent of the world’s population, and could play a major role in the beginning of conditions such as diabetes and obesity. The virus was discovered after the researchers studied samples from previous research reports on gut dwelling viruses.

When the researchers scrutinized sections of DNA fecal matter from 12 different individuals, they took note of a certain group of biological DNA. They discovered that certain collection of DNA did not match any of the already known viruses. In each sample, there were at least 97,000 base pairs that were found to be common. When the virus was screened inside the United States National Institute of Health’s database, and also the Argonne National Lab’s MG-RAST database, in both they again found the virus was in great quantity in human feces derived sections.

In order to verify that the biological DNA virus was actually present in environment, the scientists used a technique called DNA amplification, which aided them in finding the virus in the original samples.  They stated that it is not unusual to go in search of a new virus and find it but it is extremely unusual to find one that so many individuals have. The very fact that it has gotten under the radar for such a long time is very strange indeed. In fact it is believed that this virus could be in some amount in every single human body.

Now the researchers are attempting to produce the virus in a lab and their next target is to learn exactly how the virus affects the bacteria of the human gut. The virus has been named CrAssphage, and it infects Bacteroidetes. These are a highly common gut bacterium, and are also widely rampant throughout the environment. The virus exists in soil, sediments, and sea water along with being inside the guts of human beings and animals.

It Is possible that the virus might be influencing the behavior of some of the most common bacteria in humans guts. Such viruses, known as bacteriophages, have been discovered to play a role in various chronic diseases. This virus has the genetic identification of a bacteriophage, so it could infect bacteria. The scientists believe that CrAssphage is infecting one of the most commonly found types of microorganisms in the human gut.

Dr. Martha Clokie, who works at the University of Leicester, but who was not involved with the study told the media that what was exciting with the research, was that the investigators had created brand new procedures and powerful tools to help identify previously unknown viruses. She added that by thinking in the long term, in studying chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity, if it was possible to pin down such viral bacterial switches, it might be possible to one day modify them to less damaging bacteria, therefore making them less potent.

Scientists at San Diego State University found the new virus in the gut and they believe it could exist in over 50 percent of the world’s population. They also think it could play a major role in the beginning of conditions such as diabetes and obesity. The virus was discovered after the researchers studied samples from previous research reports on gut dwelling viruses.

By Kimberly Ruble

Sources:

BBC News

The Austrian Tribune

Headlines and Global News

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