Evolution and humans; using virus DNA (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 26, 2015, 14:33 (1112 days ago) @ David Turell

Retrovirus DNA is functional in humans according to new research:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/12012072/Ancient-viruses-are-alive...

"Ancient viruses were critical to the evolution of humans and infections left genetic code in our bodies which is still essential for life today, Stanford University has discovered.

"Genetic material of ancient viruses still lingers in our DNA and could explain how humans differ so greatly from other animals.

"Scientists already knew that the human genome (or blueprint) is littered with sequences left behind from long-ago viral infections but did not know if they were still having any impact.

"Now researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine have found that genetic material from a retrovirus called HERV-H is not only active, but is crucial in allowing a fertilised human egg to grow into an embryo.

"It suggests that millions of years ago the path to humanity was started by viral infections changing our DNA and could explain extraordinary evolutionary jumps which turned us into modern humans with larger brains and social skills.

"'This is the first time that these virally derived molecules have been shown to be directly involved with and necessary for vital steps of human development," Dr Vittorio Sebastiano, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynaecology.

"Now researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine have found that genetic material from a retrovirus called HERV-H is not only active, but is crucial in allowing a fertilised human egg to grow into an embryo.

"It suggests that millions of years ago the path to humanity was started by viral infections changing our DNA and could explain extraordinary evolutionary jumps which turned us into modern humans with larger brains and social skills.

"'This is the first time that these virally derived molecules have been shown to be directly involved with and necessary for vital steps of human development," Dr Vittorio Sebastiano, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynaecology.

***

"RNA usually works as a messenger molecule, reading a gene made up of DNA code, and telling the body to make a protein. However in this case the viral RNA was found to actually alter the activity of genes.

"Until the breakthrough scientists had thought that most genetic material from viruses was inert and unable to cause any genetic changes in the body. But the new study suggests not only is it still functioning, but it is crucial to human life. When scientists removed the virus code the fertilised eggs were unable to grow.

"The virus in question is called the HERV-H retrovirus. Such viruses spread by inserting their genetic material into the genome of an infected cell. If the infected cell is a sperm or an egg, the retroviral sequence can also be passed to future generations.

Comment: No notation of when the virus came onboard during evolution of humans. Could this be part of an Inventive Mechanism, or God's way of controlling the results of evolution He wishes?


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