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Giant viruses

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: Daily Mail

 Context: Giant viruses, dating back 1.5 billion years, discovered in Yellowstone’s geothermal springs shed light on Earth’s early conditions.

A giant virus, also known as a “girus,” is notably large, with some exceeding typical bacteria in size. They are classified within the phylum Nucleocytoviricota.


These viruses, with unusually large genomes, offer insights into the environment during the emergence of life. Thriving in extreme conditions, they don’t infect humans but may have influenced the evolution of single-cell organisms. The study reveals ancient connections between these viruses and hot springs, suggesting their role in ecosystem stability.


Yellowstone, the oldest US national park, is renowned for its hot springs and holds UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage site status.