Scientists have announced that a new gene has been found in the SARS-COV-2 virus, which is responsible for the epidemic that swept the world. Since the new gene overlaps with another gene, scientists have not yet discovered this gene.
Since most of the scientists who are experts in genetics have examined the virus that literally captured the world called SARS-COV-2 in 2020, and the virus has only 15 gene sequences, all the genes of the SARS-COV-2 virus that cause COVID-19 disease have been found so far. You might think it will happen. However, in a study published in eLife magazine, scientists announced that they found a new gene belonging to the virus.
The reason that the gene scientists call ORF3d has only been discovered is because it is an overlapping gene that partially shares the nucleotide sequence with another gene. To explain this situation more simply; Suppose we have two people in front of us. The surname of one of them is the same as the other (such as Cem Yılmaz, Yılmaz Erdoğan). However, although they are two people, the same name is written once (like Cem Yılmaz Erdoğan). As a result, the reader cannot identify that these are two separate genes.
The new gene discovered in SARS-COV-2 could play an important role in controlling the epidemic.
Scientists do not yet know how much effect ORF3d has on the infectiousness or lethality of the virus. Still, from the Sinica Academy in Taiwan, Dr. According to Chase Nelson, knowing that there are overlapping genes in SARS-COV-2 can provide important information for taking advantage of antiviral drugs to control the epidemic.
Scientists use computer software to detect genes, but they cannot detect overlapping genes such as ORF3d. This was the main reason why the newly discovered gene has not been found for so long. Moreover, overlapping viruses are mostly seen in RNA viruses with a high mutation rate, such as SARS-COV-2, and Dr. Nelson started a program on this issue, thinking that the overlapping genes may not have been sufficiently studied before the epidemic occurred.
Dr. According to Nelson, since SARS-COV-2 is a member of the coronavirus family, to which some of the longest RNA viruses belong, it is possible that it has various genomic tricks. Dr. After the COVID-19 outbreak, Nelson included the SARS-COV-2 virus in the research program we mentioned above, and as a result, he found the ORF3d gene mixed with ORF3b.
More importantly, ORF3d may also bear clues about the mutation process of SARS-COV-2. Because the ORF3d gene was also detected in coronavirus species found in pangolins in Guangxi, China. However, the gene in question is not found in the coronavirus species found in bats.