New Species of Virus Found in Petersham’s Harvard Forest | Athol Daily News

MBL Distinguished Scientist Jerry Melillo and colleagues have been observing the effects of warming soil at Harvard Forest since 1991. Credit: Audrey Plotkin

PETERSHAM — Scientists studying soil samples at the Harvard Forest have made an unexpected discovery.

Jeffrey Blanchard, associate professor in the biology department at UMass Amherst, said that since 2018 he has worked with Matthias Fischer and Ulrike Mersdorf of the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, Germany, studying the soil in Harvard Forest to see the effects of increased temperature on microbial organisms. Cables placed underneath the soil in 2001 by Jerry Melillo—Distinguished Scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory at the University of Chicago—have warmed it by five degrees as part of an ongoing experiment.

Blanchard said that technological advances have allowed for better separation of different organisms and fluorescence activated cell sorting provides a sequence of their genome. This type of cell sorting uses fluorescent markers to target and isolate cell groups—a technique commonly used in hematopoiesis, oncology and stem cell biology research.

During the process of isolating and marking the cells, the researchers found a type of virus that Blanchard said was “definitely a new species.” Read rest of the story here.

Source: New Species of Virus Found in Petersham’s Harvard Forest | Athol Daily News