Let the dead live again?

When I first think of viruses I think only of the negative things that come with them. I think of the pains of being sick and all the death that viruses have caused humans. But after reading this article certain parts of my thought process regarding viruses changes. Although I still think of all the damage viruses cause, both short and long term, I can now think of their evolutionary effects. Viruses have helped shape organisms into what they are today, and we can even see that in humans. Without viruses it is probable that we would not have a placenta during the gestational period which means that we would mostly likely have egg births which would not allow us to have some of our current characteristics such as our large brains.

Having this newfound knowledge of viruses and their effects on organisms has made me realize the benefits of reviving these “extinct” viruses or endogenous retroviruses. If I did not know the effects that viruses have on organisms I would have thought something similar to Coffin who said the revival of the polio virus was just “proof of principle for bioterrorism nothing more”. But knowing the impact of these viruses has led me to support the revival of these viruses. Since these viruses have such great impacts on organisms if we look at them closely we will be able to discover useful things about humans and other organisms. Not only will the study of these viruses reveal things about organisms but they can also help us discover things about themselves and utilize that information in the fight agains HIV.

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This entry was posted in AP Biology, Evolution, Viruses. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Let the dead live again?

  1. EthanM says:

    Lilly great post! The open mind you brought to this article and viruses as a whole, is important in life and continually benefits a variety of fields, medical research being one in particular. From our study of viruses, I would never have thought that speeding up the replication process of infected viral cells in our bodies could eliminate the detrimental effects retroviruses tend to have on us, HIV being the most widely known. The spread of viral DNA through our cells and bodies is what leads to the overall degradation of normal somatic processes, however, given the increased rate of mutations in infected cells (due to an inability to regulate mistakes in their genetic code during replication) increasing the speed of viral replication looks like a promising new treatment for deadly viruses. While most antiviral drugs hope to break down the enzymes and proteins vital during the viral replication process, AIDS researchers are looking to do the opposite. Their goal: increase the rate of replication, thereby adding to the number of random mutations that occur during replication, to a point where a mutated virus no longer poses a threat to normal body function.

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