Virologists have recently discovered a giant virus, much like the mythical monster- Medusa, that can turn amoebas into "stone". The discovery of the Medusavirus holds clues to more complex life. This virus infects a species of amoeba known as Acanthamoeba Castellanii, and causes it to develop a hard stony shell. Researchers have discovered that DNA replication occurred in the nucleus of the host amoeba and evidence of exchange of genetic information between both the host and virus was observed. It was also discovered that the Medusavirus contains some of the complex protein building blocks of eukaryotes. Scientists have even stated that, "genomics research of the giant virus indicates that there is likely a relationship between the Medusavirus and the origin of eukaryotic life." Viruses are classified based on how they generate mRNA to produce proteins and genetic material. The Medusavirus is a nucleocytoplasmic large DNA virus. Unlike most viruses, it contains genes that encode for proteins that involve DNA packaging. This virus has a full set of histones, which are proteins that help keep the DNA folded within the nucleus. This was very strange to scientists considering viruses do not contain a nucleus. This could mean the virus acquired the histones during coevolution. This could mean that the Medusa virus is a family all on its own. Overall, I think this is a beneficial discovery that can help better understand the virus genome and better equip ourselves with possible vaccines.
A new giant virus may help scientists better understand the emergence of complex life.