The genomes of viruses are notoriously difficult to study due to their small size and the lack of cell walls, which limits the methods available for manipulating and studying them. In order to get around these restrictions, researchers have developed a method known as metatranscriptome mining, which allows them to study the RNA of viruses without having to directly work with the viruses themselves.
This method makes use of the fact that viruses typically infect host cells and then hijack the host’s cellular machinery to produce more viruses. As a result, the host cell’s RNA is filled with viral RNA transcripts. By sequencing the RNA of infected cells, the researchers can get a wealth of information about the viruses that are present, without having to cultivate them in a laboratory.
This approach has already yielded some important insights into the world of viruses. For example, in one study, metatranscriptome mining was used to study the viruses present in the guts of healthy humans. This revealed the presence of a previously unknown virus family, which the researchers named the CrAssphage virus.
This method is still in its early stages, but it has great potential for helping researchers to understand the vast and largely unknown universe of viruses.
A team of researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine have used a process known as metatranscriptome mining to build a better understanding of the universe of viruses.
The process involves looking at the RNA of viruses as opposed to their DNA. This is because RNA is what is responsible for the creation of proteins, which are essential for the survival and function of viruses.
The team used a tool known as ViromeScan to analyze the RNA of viruses. This tool is able to identify known viruses as well as unknown viruses.
The study found that there are potentially millions of different types of viruses in the world. However, the vast majority of these viruses are harmless to humans.
The team plans to continue their research in order to build a more comprehensive understanding of the virus universe. This research could have important implications for the development of new vaccines and treatments for viral diseases.