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Why is it in the news?

  • Scientists identified ‘obelisks,’ a new form of life found between viruses and viroids in terms of simplicity, while analyzing genetic material from bacteria in the human gut.

More about the news

  • It is characterized by a circular single-stranded RNA genome devoid of a protein coat, resembling viroids, yet possessing genes predicted to encode proteins, akin to viruses.
  • The discovery of obelisks was made possible through the utilization of next-generation sequencing (NGS), a highly advanced genetic analysis technique.
  • Their existence challenges traditional classifications of life forms and underscores the remarkable diversity and complexity of genetic entities within the biosphere.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Infectious microorganisms comprising nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) enclosed within a protein coat known as a capsid.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Lacking the metabolic machinery to carry out cellular processes independently, viruses depend on host cells for replication.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Viral infections can lead to various diseases in humans and other organisms, often causing harm or death to the host cell during replication.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Examples of human diseases caused by viruses include AIDS, COVID-19, measles, and smallpox, illustrating their wide-ranging impact on public health.


路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Small, infectious pathogens composed of short, single-stranded RNA molecules devoid of a protein coat.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Initially discovered in the 1970s by American plant pathologist Theodor Otto Diener, primarily affecting plants.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Viroids are known to infect a wide array of plant species, including agricultural crops, ornamental plants, and trees.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Notably, viroids do not infect animals or humans, with their impact primarily confined to the realm of plant pathology.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Well-known viroid families include Pospiviroidae, with examples like Potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd), and Avsunviroidae, which encompasses Avocado sunblotch viroid (ASBVd).



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