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Viruses Can Scatter Their Genes Among Cells and Reassemble (quantamagazine.org)
151 points by furcyd 34 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 14 comments



It is quite interesting, but to offer a counterpoint to the article posted, it seems that its importance is inflated (as can be expected. The actual paper is slightly less fantastical https://elifesciences.org/articles/43599 and even that is embellished compared to the current understanding of multipartite viruses according to

https://medium.com/@devang/overstating-results-elife-and-dis... and its citations.


I like mimetics.

I'm not a distributed database expert.

But I'm wondering: is this analogous to sharding? Not really, I guess. Eventual consistency? Not really, I guess.

Is it: sharding + replication + "ordering" => Eventual consistency?

What do we have in tech that behaves like this?


The way p2p torrents work to some degree? One node can draw on surrounding nodes to retrieve smaller portions of the full data.


It’s pretty amazing that we’re capable of identifying behavior like this.

They’re like little DNA paratroopers behind enemy lines


There are two other living combinations that we did not figure out til recently, one involving sea life and the other involving lichen (in case you missed them): general public: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/04/the-shel... source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4191779/

general public: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/07/how-a-gu...


It's really eerie how similar biological viruses are to computer viruses. Even though that's obviously why they transferred the name, I feel like you still wouldn't expect quite such a similarity...


Multipartite viruses actually don't work like that. The difference is here:

> researchers realized that a [biological] virus could be composed of two or more independent pieces, all of which were vital for infection

multipartite computer viruses are monolithic; when they infect a boot sector, if there is not enough space, additional segments of the virus are stored in other parts of the disk (eg. masked as bad sectors), but it's still a single logical unit.

It would certainly be an interesting idea for malware to break into independent pieces in separate logical locations (boot, files, etc.), but that's not how multipartite viruses traditionally work (or worked; I'm referring to DOS viruses).


Perhaps unrelated. Could biophotons be connected to this in some way?


I think you're misunderstanding what a biophoton is?

Biophotons are just regular old photons produced by a living being (biological system). I'm not sure how they could be relevant, here.



Oh, interesting! I wasn't aware of this research. I would be surprised if this were connected, but a fascinating idea nevertheless; I wonder if anybody has discussed a potential connection?



They are ninjas... Isn't this phenomena similar to the way biomarkers from antibodies work?


This is amazing. Is it like MapReduce, but for virus replication and transmission?




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