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15,000-year-old viruses discovered in Tibetan glacier ice

 Credit: Lonnie Thompson

Most of the viruses were previously unknown to humans, study finds

Scientists who study glacier ice have found viruses nearly 15,000 years old in ice samples from the Tibetan Plateau in China. Most of those viruses, which survived because they had remained frozen, are unlike any viruses that have been cataloged to date.

The findings, published in Microbiome, could help scientists understand how viruses have evolved over centuries. The researchers also created a new, ultra-clean method of analyzing microbes and viruses in ice without contaminating it.

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