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Hunt for ancient viruses as Russia’s leading virology centre samples remains of Ice Age animals

By The Siberian Times reporter
16 February 2021

Scientists from Novosibirsk-based Vector are working in Yakutia on a paleo-virus experiment.

‘The team of Vector Virology Centre is keen to find paleo-viruses that would allow to start development of paleo-virology in Russia and conduct leading researched in virus evolution'. Picture: Nina Sleptsova/NEFU

First ever check for paleo-viruses on the Pleistocene era animals preserved in permafrost of Yakutia, Russia’s largest and coldest inhabited region started today in the Mammoth Museum of Yakutsk. 

More than 50 samples were taken from 4,450 year old remains of the Verkhoyansk horse, found in 2009 in north-east of Yakutia and other prehistoric animals from the collection. 

Work will continue for several more days, with researcher from Vector and team from Yakutia’s Far Eastern Federal University samples finds as old as 28,800 year old Malolyakhovsky woolly mammoth, the Omoloy Elk, Tumat dogs, an ancient partridge and various rodents. 

All these animals were found ‘thanks’ to thawing permafrost in the the north and extreme north of Yakutia. 

Bacteriological tests were made on them all at the time of discovery, but never a check for ancient viruses. 

Hunt for ancient viruses begins as Russia’s leading virology centre samples remains of Ice Age animals


Hunt for ancient viruses begins as Russia’s leading virology centre samples remains of Ice Age animals


Hunt for ancient viruses begins as Russia’s leading virology centre samples remains of Ice Age animals
The world's only existing woolly mammoth trunk, and a mummy of an ancient dog known as a Tumat puppy. Pictures: Semyon Grigoryev/NEFU


‘The team of Vector Virology Centre is keen to find paleo-viruses that would allow to start development of paleo-virology in Russia and conduct leading researched in virus evolution.

'There was only limited research made on soft tissues of ancient animals (until now). Vector is doing significant amount of monitoring of various infections, and is gathering a lot of material for epidemiological research in Russia and elsewhere in the world.

'There were a number of attempts to start this work during the last decade.  Now we are moving from planning to actions’, said Vector researcher from the department of biophysics and ecological studies, Olesya Okhlopkova.

Once the test tubes are back to Novosibirsk in Western Siberia, the laboratory team will isolate total nucleic acids and carry whole genome sequencing to allow the scientists get information on biodiversity of microorganisms in the samples. 

‘Should nucleic acids preserve, we ought to be able to get data on their composition and establish how it changed. We will be able to determine the epidemiological potential of currently existing infectious agents,’ Olesya Okhlopkova said.

Hunt for ancient viruses begins as Russia’s leading virology centre samples remains of Ice Age animals. Pictures: Nina Sleptsova/NEFU

Hunt for ancient viruses begins as Russia’s leading virology centre samples remains of Ice Age animals


Hunt for ancient viruses begins as Russia’s leading virology centre samples remains of Ice Age animals


Hunt for ancient viruses begins as Russia’s leading virology centre samples remains of Ice Age animals

Comments (2)

Not to mention what Nostradamus predicted about these viruses. Check online,
Not happy with this in hands of Russian scientists or any scientist really.
Things are going to get messy, I can just sense it.
Juan Rpjas, United Kingdom
29/03/2021 05:02
0
0
lets just hope that none of those -ancient bugs - get -lost - somewhere in transit.and are let loose on an unsuspecting population... by no means do i mean on purpose or the likes. but accidents DO happen.
Benedikt MORAK, Russia
17/02/2021 16:29
10
0
1

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