A new study has been done to show that viruses share their genes across the three super kingdoms of life – bacteria, archaea, and eukarya, and most of this sharing is typically done between the eukaryoa and bacteria kingdom. Within this new study, scientists have found that some genes exclusively share some of their genes with cells that are NOT their hosts. How? The answer is simple, they are livening within these communities but not harming them!
A team of scientists used bioinformatics to analyze the genomes of organisms and viruses that infect them, and rather than focusing on their genetic sequence, they examined the functional components of proteins (folds) instead. Each of these folds has a unique 3D structure that performs a specific operation, and because these are so critical to the protein function, they remain stable even as the sequences change. Researchers were able to find hundreds of folds present across all the super kingdoms which suggest that they came from an ancient ancestor. The data found also points to other, unknown, mechanisms that allow viruses to exchange genetic material with cells.