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Pore water microbial communities change as they move below the surface. The continuing isolation and evolution of a groundwater community may continue for hundreds of thousands of years. There is little known regarding the viral diversity and abundance of deep groundwater communities. Recent work in 1500 year old, 80 m deep, confined-aquifer groundwater showed unexpected viral groups to be abundant. Specifically, genomes of the large animal virus family Circoviridaewere were diverse and readily identifiable. These viruses have been found in human faeces, but whether they are human pathogens is still unknown. However, they are known to cause disease in most major livestock groups. Geminiviridaeand Microviridae were also present. These results demonstrate that viruses can spread and endure in groundwater as common members of the microbial community. The extent of the spread and endurance, as well as the extent to which the porous matrices of aquifers act to concentrate viruses is the focus on ongoing work. The results also raise the question of the extent to which relic viruses of some groundwater communities are a record of venerable if not quite ancient surface fauna and flora.
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