How Viruses Secretly Control the Planet

Image credits: Jed Fuhrman(Inside Science) — Viruses control their hosts like puppets — and in the process, they may play important roles in Earth’s climate.

The hosts in this case aren’t people or animals: They are bacteria. A growing body of research is revealing how viruses manipulate what bacteria eat and how they guide the chemical reactions that sustain life. When those changes happen to a lot of bacteria, the cumulative effects could potentially shape the composition and behavior of Earth’s oceans, soil and air.

“We think that viruses have this huge impact that we just don’t know about,” said Gary Trubl, a soil virus ecologist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. “They can actually impact the environment.”

Read the full article here.