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Nathan Myers

What a talent you (or maybe viruses) have for making my head explode with every paragraph!

Are these still recognizable as genetic relatives of other viruses?

Merry replies:

Your question raises a major point that plagues virologists. Except for very closely related viruses, their lineages have diverged for such a long period of time that there is typically no recognizable similarity in their genomic sequences. The amino acid sequences of the most highly conserved proteins (virion structural proteins and the genome packaging machinery) show a bit more similarity, but even here one can't detect any relatedness for the vast majority of viruses. There is yet one more strategy being used, that being to look at the protein "folds," the complex 3D structures of these proteins. Here researchers have found evidence that viral lineages include viruses that infect hosts in all three domains. Thus these lineages are thought to be ancient, >3 billion years old, having originated before the bacterial, archaeal, and eukaryotic domains diverged.

Back to your question: I'd be willing to bet that these "turtles" either have been or will be demonstrated to be similar to other viruses.

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