Image provided by Maria Alejandra Bautista, Rachel Whitaker Lab
Research funded by the National Science Foundation
These star-shaped patterns are composed of viruses that infect Sulfolobus islandicus, a species of archaea that lives in volcanic springs. The study of viruses that infect organisms of the third domain of life, the Archaea, has revealed novel and unusual ﬁlamentous and spindle-shaped viruses. The study of these viruses and how they interact with their archaeal hosts can provide insights into how early life on earth evolved.