The discovery of a new virus has left scientists puzzled, as they found that the organism has nearly "no recognizable genes," according to The Independent.
The virus has been dubbed the Yaravirus, which received its moniker from a mermaid-queen figure from Brazilian mythology named "Yara." It was discovered inside Lake Pampulha, an artificial lake located within the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte.
The most interesting thing about this organism is that 90 percent of the genes have never been found before. "Using standard protocols, our very first genetic analysis was unable to find any recognisable sequences of capsid or other classical viral genes in Yaravirus," the authors state in their review."Following the current metagenomic protocols for viral detection, Yaravirus would not even be recognised as a viral agent."
The discovery just goes to show "how much we still need to understand" about viruses, Jônatas Abrahão, one of the researchers, told Science Magazine.
"Contrary to what is observed in other isolated viruses of amoeba, Yaravirus is not represented by a large/giant particle and a complex genome, but at the same time carries an important number of previously undescribed genes,” the researchers write, pointing out that most known viruses share common features, which makes it easier to group them.
Still, the discovery has the scientific community puzzled. "A mysterious #viral genome was found to be almost entirely composed of novel genes that do not match any known genes," tweeted Ayaz Najafov, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. "So, a whole new treasure chest of previously-unseen biochemical processes?!"
"Let’s welcome our new member #Yaravirus into virology family," Reddy KishoreKumar, a plant biologist, tweeted. "God bless you dear Yara for making virology more interesting and viruses most controversial."