Ciliates can eat viruses

Researchers at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln have discovered a “species of Halteria – microscopic ciliates that populate freshwater worldwide – can eat huge numbers of infectious chloroviruses that share their aquatic habitat”.


When I read something like this, my imagination invariably goes to thoughts of apocalypse. I think of genetically modified ciliates in a vaccine. Once in your system they start to feed on your body, consuming you from the inside, creating a biological grey goo that sweeps over the Earth, eating everything in its path.

What if engineered ciliates make it possible to convert food into energy, lots and lots of energy, causing all kinds of uncontrolled mutations in mammals? A planet of dinosaur size animals and humans roaming the planet.

Would living forever allow interstellar travel? Vast ships sent deep into space. People able to live long enough to travel beyond our solar system, find life on other planets.

What if ciliates lead to the cure for ageing? Generations living for two or three hundred, a thousand, years. What happens to people who no longer fear death? Will it bring cults of people who want to commit suicide to escape the purgatory to living too long?

The science is interesting. The possibilities endless.


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