Thursday, December 27, 2007

Our beloved friends, the viruses

Quote from a great article by the New Yorker which talks about recent research on the role of ancient viruses on human evolution:

When the sequence of the human genome was fully mapped, in 2003, researchers also discovered something they had not anticipated: our bodies are littered with the shards of such retroviruses, fragments of the chemical code from which all genetic material is made. It takes less than two per cent of our genome to create all the proteins necessary for us to live. Eight per cent, however, is composed of broken and disabled retroviruses, which, millions of years ago, managed to embed themselves in the DNA of our ancestors.

No comments: