Personally I feel that the title of the article itself is quite clever and very amusing, I feel that titling the piece “Darwin’s Surprise” gives a bit of insight into the correlation between the evolution of humans and apes, in the time of Darwin and his own theories, compared to the recent finding of the evolutionary correlation between viruses and the human genome. I feel that Darwin would find the whole concept, since no information on DNA and genes was known at the time, the whole concept; of DNA extraction, building and the general concept of “reviving” extinct viruses would be quite shocking.
The whole concept of “reviving” dead viruses was actually the most surprising aspect of the article. It is interesting and quite mind-boggling to know that one can simply recreate a DNA sequence and build portions of DNA nucleotide by nucleotide. It is even more shocking and interesting to know that one can simply trace the evolutions of endogenous viruses in the human genome and simply build, and “revive” and extinct virus.
The article ultimately suggests that viruses, such as certain endogenous retroviruses “…may actually protect us from viruses that are even worse.” (pg.68) Though often associated as a negative parasite it seems that scientists also have found a notable exception in the case of the evolution of the embryo in mammals, from egg laying mammals into animals that develop a placenta, basically a parasite. The article also suggests that through the study of various endogenous viruses and the sequencing of DNA, researchers have discovered retroviruses in every vertebrate species that has been studied. I think this information has definitely broadened my understanding of viruses, though not considered alive, in reality viruses play a much greater role in various organisms in changing their genetic makeup and ultimately influencing the future evolution of organisms.
I feel that in a scientific society such experiments and research surely comes down to the basis of ethics. Though the information gained in “reviving” these dead experiments is useful in the study of the human genome and its evolution, I feel that personally such matters could possibly be very dangerous. But overall such research would be much more beneficial, yet measures much be enforced and developed in order to maintain the chances of an error to a minimum.