This Virus Shouldn't Exist (But it Does) | Summary and Q&A

August 31, 2021
Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell
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This Virus Shouldn't Exist (But it Does)


Microorganisms and viruses engage in a constant struggle for resources and space, with viruses being the smallest and deadliest lifeforms that infect and take over living things.

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Key Insights

  • 👾 Microorganisms and viruses engage in a constant battle for resources and space on Earth.
  • 🫒 Gyruses, giant viruses, have complex genomes that challenge our understanding of viruses and their classification as living organisms.
  • 🌍 Virophages, viruses that hunt other viruses, add complexity to the interactions between viruses in the microbial world.
  • 〽️ Gyruses can fundamentally alter the physiology and evolution of cells through the integration of their genomes.
  • 🤗 The discovery of gyruses and virophages has opened up exciting avenues for studying the intricate world of microorganisms and viruses.
  • 🚱 The classification of viruses as living or non-living entities is an ongoing scientific debate with no definite answer.
  • 🤯 The sheer number of viruses on Earth is mind-boggling, highlighting their successful existence and adaptation.


hidden in the microverse all around you there's  a merciless war being fought by the true rulers   of this planet microorganisms amoeba protists  bacteria archaea and fungi compete for resources   and space and then there are the strange horrors  that are viruses hunting everyone else not even   alive they are the tiniest most abundant and  deadlie... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Are viruses considered alive or not?

The classification of viruses as living organisms is still debated among scientists. Some argue that viruses are alive, while others believe that the cells they infect are the true living entities.

Q: How did viruses emerge in the first place?

The origin of viruses is still a mystery, but there are several hypotheses. Some suggest that viruses may have played essential roles in the emergence of life, while others propose that viruses evolved from escaped DNA or lazy parasites.

Q: How many viruses are estimated to be on Earth?

There are an estimated 10,000 billion billion billion viruses on Earth, which, if placed next to each other, would stretch for 100 million light years.

Q: How do gyruses infect cells?

Gyruses connect with their victims, such as amoebae, and use their natural processes to enter the cells. They rearrange the cell's infrastructure to create a viroplasm factory, where new gyruses are assembled, eventually leading to the destruction of the cell.

Q: How are gyruses different from other viruses?

Gyruses are larger and more complex than typical viruses. They can have hundreds or even thousands of genes, blurring the line between living and dead things. Some gyrus genes are unique and responsible for regulating various cellular processes.

Q: What are virophages?

Virophages are viruses that hunt other viruses. They can parasitize the viroplasm factories of their victims, disrupting their ability to produce new viruses. This interaction between viruses adds complexity to our understanding of virology.

Q: Do gyruses have any defense mechanisms against virophages?

Some gyruses possess systems that resemble a defense mechanism against virophages, potentially similar to bacterial CRISPR systems. Additionally, virophages can be used as an antigyrus defense mechanism by integrating their genetic code into the genome of protists.

Q: How long have gyruses and virophages been coexisting with other cells?

Gyruses and virophages may have been existing alongside and infecting cells for billions of years. They could have influenced the development of life by mixing genes and shaping evolution in various directions.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Microorganisms, such as amoeba, protists, bacteria, archaea, and fungi, compete for resources and space in a merciless war.

  • Viruses, although not alive, are the tiniest and most abundant beings on Earth, infecting and killing trillions of organisms every day.

  • Giant viruses called gyruses have recently been discovered, challenging assumptions about the nature of viruses and their interactions with other viruses and cells.

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