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Virus triggered evolution - Page 2/3

Subject: Virus triggered evolution
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shadow27 28.02.21 - 09:19am
In other words, the virus that was causing disease was located in the koala genome itself.

''This was the first time anyone had seen this happening in real time. All previous endogenous retroviruses had embedded themselves in host genomes many, many millions of years ago,'' Young says.

At the breeding colony that Hanger initially studied in Queensland, he and Young found the retrovirus in the genome of every single koala they tested. As they moved northward, toward the city of Cairns, they found a similar picture: every koala carried the retrovirus. Moving south, however, the number of infected koalas dropped. On Kangaroo Island, off the southern coast of Australia near the center of the continent, only a handful of koalas were infected. * +

shadow27 28.02.21 - 09:21am
Examination of koala pelts from museums showed that the retrovirus has been in koala DNA for at least 200 years, according to a 2012 study in Molecular Biology and Evolution, although they think it was present for a few thousand years - the blink of an eye in evolutionary terms.

''It's amazing that it would have spread through the germline so quickly,'' Young says. * +

shadow27 28.02.21 - 09:23am
Because the introduction of the retrovirus was still so new, the virus hasn't accumulated many mutations, and the koala's genetic machinery still actively turns the viral DNA into active virus. That healthy animals also have this virus continues to stump researchers - what's making the other koalas sick? Nor can they explain how the retrovirus spread throughout the koala population so quickly, especially when it seems to create deadly problems for a significant number of the animals. * +

shadow27 28.02.21 - 09:25am
The idea that a symbiotic virus or any symbiotic relationship could have such a profound influence on the evolution of a new species is both new and controversial. For more than a century after Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, scientists focused on competition as evolutions chief driving force. Biologist Lynn Margulis wasn't convinced.

The late University of Massachusetts researcher believed that cooperation also played a role. Her evidence lurked in every cell of every plant and animal. Beginning in the late 1960s, Margulis argued that our cells contained symbiotic bacteria known as mitochondria and chloroplasts, which earned room and board by either supplying energy or producing food from sunlight. Margulis's idea was ridiculed, and she struggled to find a journal that would publish her hypothesis. * +

shadow27 28.02.21 - 09:26am
By the 1990s, however, enough genetic evidence had accumulated to show that Margulis was right. Symbiosis was responsible for some of the most significant evolutionary leaps in the history of the planet. Most scientists, however, viewed this event as an anomaly, a once-off freak occurrence that, although significant, didnt play a role in the ongoing evolution of most species. Margulis, though, saw symbiosis everywhere and believed that this softer, gentler side of evolution was getting short shrift in research. Although most symbiosis research has focused on the role of the microbiome, the viruses tucked into our DNA can play a similar role in splitting apart two populations, turning one species into two. The first wedge scientists discovered was a protein called syncytin. * +

shadow27 28.02.21 - 09:34am
Blah blah blah

Katzourakis and Reijo Pera both believe that endogenous retroviruses are blurring the line between virus and human.

''It's changing how we think of ourselves as a species. Such an intimate interaction between ourselves and these viruses, and exchanging DNA that's useful for us, has really molded how we're now thinking of ourselves as a dynamic soup of DNA that's now infiltrated by viruses,'' Kazourakis says.

Haig puts it more succinctly. ''Are these viruses a part of us? They definitely are.''

Chin.gif * +

shadow27 1.03.21 - 02:38am
Holy sh*t..

[Link] https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/12/coronavirus-may-sometimes-slip-its-genetic-material-human-chromosomes-what-does-mean [/link] * +

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