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Science & Technology

Prehistoric viruses still thrive within us

By T.K. Randall
April 26, 2012 · Comment icon 15 comments

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Traces of ancient viruses from millions of years ago can still be found within our genetic material.
Scientists studied the genomes of several species to look for traces of these viruses, what they found was that many of them still thrived within modern species including humans. Some of the viruses had lost the ability to transfer from one cell to another and now lived out their entire lifecycle within a single cell.

"This is the story of an epidemic within every animal's genome, a story which has been going on for 100 million years and which continues today," said study author Dr Robert Belshaw. "We suspect that these viruses are forced to make a choice: either to keep their 'viral' essence and spread between animals and species. Or to commit to one genome and then spread massively within it."
Traces of ancient viruses which infected our ancestors millions of years ago are more widespread in us than previously thought. A study shows how extensively viruses from as far back as the dinosaur era still thrive in our genetic material.

Source: BBC News | Comments (15)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by ShadowSot 11 years ago
Doubtful, since this would be from descendants of people who survived these diseases and likely have innate immunities. Most likely modern diseases are as deadly or worse in comparison to ancient ones. Ebola for example.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Drev 11 years ago
So yea, us dutchies will prolly take it, mutate it around a bit, and stock another pandemic weapon in our secret world domination lab.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Hybrid89 11 years ago
Wow, very interesting indeed.
Comment icon #9 Posted by catfishyeah 11 years ago
Hmm, interesting, more proof of evolution.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Kryso 11 years ago
Interesting. Amazing something so small can exist for so long. This, in my opinion, is the kind of thing they will find still surviving on Mars, proving there was once organic life there.
Comment icon #11 Posted by FurthurBB 11 years ago
Hello friends, I want to know the side effects of zoloft. somebody please tell me about it. zoloft 50mg They have websites for that.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Abramelin 11 years ago
They have websites for that. As long as you don't click the link..... It's SPAM.
Comment icon #13 Posted by FurthurBB 11 years ago
As long as you don't click the link..... It's SPAM. Oh great! I did not click the link, I just thought it was an idiot.
Comment icon #14 Posted by ZaraKitty 11 years ago
How old is cancer? Is this worse?
Comment icon #15 Posted by ShadowSot 11 years ago
How old is cancer? Is this worse? We've found dinosaur remains with cancer. It's also not one thing,it's many, many things and varies from easily treatable to untreatable depending on the type and location and person it's in. These are marks left in us by diseases our ancestors were exposed to. Could range from a cold up to a potential for why humans bottle necked at various points. (Last isn't terribly likely, but an example.)

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