The Atlantic

Beware the Medusavirus

A newly discovered giant virus turns its victims to “stone.”
Source: Shelli Jensen / Shutterstock

The very first giant virus was discovered in a water-cooling tower in 2003. As the name suggests, giant viruses are unusually large and their genomes unusually complex, all of which went against the prevailing idea of viruses as small, simple, and primitive. Then one baffling giant virus became many, as scientists kept discovering different types: in water off the Chilean coast, in Siberian permafrost, in an Austrian, and now in mud from a Japanese hot spring.

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