“The idea of a common ancestor makes no sense in the light of viruses. That was Darwin’s idea, but he was clearly wrong.” – Dr. Didier Raoult, head of infectious and emerging tropical disease research at Aix-Marseille 2 University, France.
All this comes in response to giant viruses, the so-called Marseillevirus in particular, which seems to have acquired the DNA of plants, animals, bacteria, and even other giant viruses. First discovered in 1993 by accident [“Hey! Who smashed together a bunch of stuff and put it on my microscope? Wait a minute…” -Ed.], giant viruses can be seen in your run-of-the-mill light microscope (unlike regular viruses) and can in some instances actually infect other viruses in order to replicate. Where the hell did these things come from and how the hell do we kill them, you ask?
Well, as it turns out, those pesky little amoeba your mother warned you about, those little one-celled organisms are apparently “a sort of cradle of creation for new viruses and bacteria,” said Raoult. Joy. So glad these things made it to the evolutionary party.
The other thing Raoult had to say, presumably in a very French accent, which made the news even more unbearable is this: “There is a mechanism of permanent creation going on in amoeba producing a new repertoire of viruses and predisposing giant viruses to become pathogens once they specialise.” That’s right, so basically, amoeba are nothing more than dirty little virus factories that not only help them grow, they also make them deadlier.
No word yet as to how to eradicate them, scientists are still too busy playing with their new toy. If I saw this thing in a microscope, my first instinct would have been to light the slide on fire, and that’s why I’m not allowed into my university’s science labs any more.