Viruses: Friend or Foe?

The article Darwin’s Surprise plays off of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. It takes the ideas of variation and advantageous and heritable traits, and applies them to viruses. The title derives from the idea that the featured information on viruses was not of Darwin’s scope. He had no clue that viruses could pose as an evolutionary force. Darwin already understands that individuals with traits best fit to the environment survive, but I feel that he would have trouble latching on to the idea that the viruses can sometimes be what causes that. It’s a very interesting concept to think about, and based on how studying and knowledge, it would be a bizarre idea for him to even ponder. I alone find it amazing and almost unbelievable. Who would have thought that part of humans diverging as a species was potentially due to a retrovirus aiding in development of a placenta. Although I am aware of the concepts of the common ancestor, I think it is surprising that thanks to a virus, humans have developed the  placenta, and can now have live births and are no longer laying eggs. It would be very interesting to see what else viruses have aided in.

Prior to reading this article, I thought of viruses as bad. When I hear virus, I immediately think of the flu aids; nobody wants either. They haven’t done any good to anyone ever. It’s strange to see that thanks to exposure to specific viruses, humans have evolved into what we are today, and could continue to do so for the same reasons over generations. This new acquisition of knowledge has allowed me to see the positive side of viruses, as well as how amazing our regulation system is.

As dangerous as reviving dead viruses seems to be, I feel that is a major key in terms of understanding the history of of regulation system, and to preventing potential serious cases as a result of viruses. On the other hand, preventing future viruses interferes with the world’s natural processes, and could limit human’s evolution in the future. If we had information to stop all viruses from entering our systems back in earlier stages of our development as a human species, we may not have developed some of the most important components of our current daily survival. This is a very interesting subject to ponder, and I look forward to finding out about more research, and potentially even contributing with the research in the future.

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