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Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2010-11 > 1289867169


From: Jonathan Day <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Ancient retrovirus in the genome?
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 2010 16:26:09 -0800 (PST)
In-Reply-To: <BB57F5CC-655D-4504-8E37-423FBB98431B@gmail.com>


An interesting article. It begs a question, though:

Could the virus be beneficial to society as a whole, if it shows a low enough level of activity in any given person and is only active in a relatively small number of people?

Evolutionary biology is not my speciality, but I know enough to know that it is theorized that organelles are the remnants of parasites subsumed by the cell, and that claims have been made that nucleic DNA has mechanisms for shedding extraneous material over (a very long) time.

True, a few million years probably isn't long enough to do a whole lot, but fifty embedded retroviruses seems a lot. The article doesn't say much about how old the others are or whether they can be reactivated or not, so I can't tell from what they say as to whether they're hold-overs that are young enough to be intact or whether they're ancient but too useful in the evolutionary sense to get rid of.

If the retrovirus has some value - not necessarily to the host in whom it is active, but to the population as a whole - then it would be valuable to know that =before= someone finds a cure.

--- On Mon, 11/15/10, Wilcox Lisa <> wrote:
> http://discovermagazine.com/2010/jun/03-the-insanity-virus/article_view?b_start%3Aint=0&-C






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