Friday, December 16, 2016

Looking at Our "Percent Virus"

Looking at Our "Percent Virus"
This SUPER interesting article described the idea that our human genome is actually made up of about 8% viruses!! The reason for this is because some viruses, specifically those within the retrovirus family undergo reverse transcription, and inserts a DNA copy of its RNA sequence into the genome of the host cell! This cell, however, can continue to reproduce and spread the viruses sequence across teh body! 

This has been occurring for millions of years, according to this article!By sequencing our genomes and looking at viruses on evolutionary trees, scientists have been able to calculate our "percent virus." In fact, over 100,000 sequences have come from viruses in this manner! While many people think of viruses in a negative light, these viruses have been incredibly helpful for the growth of our cells - in fact, scientists  think that retroviruses have led to enormous contributions for placental mammalian cell development. 

I would be excited to learn more about what parts of our genomes have viruses encoded in us, and how that might be able to both help and harm people!

Source (posted Dec 14, 2016)

Ashley Jowell

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