Unique genetic material, very similar to viruses, has been found in microbes living in the human digestive tract.
According to the researchers, Just found out The structure of genetic material is so unique that it differs from all known biological factors. According to Ivan Zhilodev, a biologist at Stanford University, although they resemble viruses to some extent, they are not like that. They belong to a completely new group. Rather, they can be considered a type of transfer between molecules that carry genetic information and viruses. Experts called them “obelisks.”
“The amyloids constitute a class of diverse RNAs that have established and long remained undiscovered in the human and global microbiome.” – Write to the researchers on bioRxiv, which has not yet been peer-reviewed In their studies.
Mysterious genetic material in bacteria that live with humans
Obelisks are made up of about 1000 nucleotides, so they are very small, which is why scientists have not noticed them for a long time.
In the study, Zhilodev and his research team used a database containing 5.4 million genetic sequences ReviewedHe identified nearly 30,000 different types of obelisks. These structures were present in approximately 10% of the human microbes examined. Moreover, according to the examined data, different types of obelisks were created in different sections of the digestive system.
It has also been shown that one of the most common bacterial families of obelisks is A Streptococcus sanguinis Cannes, where an obelisk with a length of 1137 nucleotides was identified. the Streptococcus sanguinis It is mainly found in the oral cavity. According to Zhilodev, it is easy to imagine that obelisks can also be found in other bacteria living in the human body.
Obelisks also encode unique proteins that may play a role in the replication of this genetic entity.
Researchers do not yet know the extent of the impact of these obelisks on the host bacterial cells and thus on the functioning of the digestive system, and knowing this requires more research.