Scientists Warn of “Time-Traveling” Pathogens Released from Melting Ice

A new study published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology suggests that 1% of simulated releases of just one dormant pathogen could cause major environmental damage and the widespread loss of host organisms around the world. The study used a software called Avida to run experiments that simulated the release of one type of ancient pathogen into modern biological communities. The invading pathogens often survived and evolved in the simulated modern world, and in the worst-case scenario, the invasion reduced the size of its host community by 30%. The researchers say that while the likelihood of a pathogen emerging from melting ice and causing catastrophic extinctions is low, the risk is not zero and we should be prepared.


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