Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Bit of Retrovirus News

“Over the course of evolution, retroviruses have invaded the germ-line of our ancestors on numerous occasions. Now, human ERVs (HERVs) make up around 8% of our genome,” say Dr David Griffiths from the Moredun Research Institute and Cécile Voisset from the Faculté de Médecine et des Sciences de la Santé in France.


Wow. I knew they were in there, but the fact that they make up almost 10% of the genome is pretty profound (to me). Could it have been a virus that was inserted into the germline that helped to cause us to speciate from the rest of the great apes? Is HIV attempting to add itself permanently to our genome? That's a disturbing thought.

3 comments:

Zach Miller said...

That's a really scary thought, Will. I wasn't even aware that we have virus DNA in our genomes in the first place...

Will Baird said...

Oh Zach!

Do we indeed! I have always wondered if some of these buggers could ever express themselves again...oy.

ScottE said...

I wonder if ERV has offered any relevant commentary...