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Never-before-seen microbes locked in glacier ice could spark a wave of new pandemics if released

A new study found hundreds of newly discovered microbes in melting glaciers, some of which could be potentially pathogenic. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

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Baffled scientists have discovered more than 900 never-before-seen species of microbes living in glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau. Analysis of the microbes’ genomes revealed that some have the potential to spawn new pandemics if the rapid meltdown caused by climate change frees them from their frigid prisons.

In a new study, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences took ice samples from 21 glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau — a high-altitude region in Asia sandwiched between the Himalayan Mountains to the south and the Taklamakan Desert to the north. The team then sequenced the DNS of the microscopic organisms trapped in the ice and created a huge database of microbial genomes, which they called the Tibetan Glacier Genome and Gene Catalog (TG2G). It is the first time that a microbial community buried in a glacier has been genetically sequenced.

Never-before-seen microbes locked in glacier ice could spark a wave of new pandemics if released Source link Never-before-seen microbes locked in glacier ice could spark a wave of new pandemics if released

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