Genes from Ebola Virus Family Found in Human Genome: Scientific American
Genes from Ebola Virus Family Found in Human Genome
A rush of new research has found evidence that some RNA viruses made their way into vertebrate genomes millions of years ago
By Katherine Harmon at Scientific American
Viruses do not make good fossils. But advances in genomic technology have allowed scientists to peer into the genetic material of viruses and their hosts to search for clues about their shared evolutionary history.
Genetic code from retroviruses has been found to compose some 8 percent of the human genome, having been copied in during replication and left to be inherited by us and our progeny. But non-retroviral RNA viruses do not use their host’s DNA to replicate—and some do not even enter the host cell’s nucleus. Nevertheless, new research has turned up surprising evidence that some of these viruses are enmeshed in the genomes of vertebrates—including humans and other mammals.
One of these new studies, published online July 29 in PLoS Pathogens, has uncovered some 80 examples of viral genetic data circulating in the genomes of vertebrate species for the past 40 million years.
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