This article named “Darwin’s Surprise” proposes the suggestion that viruses played a key role in human evolution. The article states that Darwin would not only be surprised by this suggestion, but also “delighted,” as his theory that humans and apes shared a common ancestor was strengthened through findings that suggested the two species shared viral fragments.
Honestly, the most surprising thing about this article was the initial idea to put viruses back together to study their effects of evolution. Although probably well controlled, the idea that something could go wrong, and one of the viruses that were put back together turns out stronger than the original strain, and is some how used for some bio-terrorism plot, is stuck in my head. (Although this is a very Hollywood-esque thought.)
This article suggests that viruses have greatly influenced evolution. The text quotes Luis P. Villarreal, “Viruses may well be the unseen creator that most likely did contribute to making us human.” Before reading this article, I never thought that viruses played this large of a roll in evolution. One fact that stood out to me in the article was that roughly 8% of the human genome is made up of fragmented retroviruses. After reading this article, I have gained both new insight on the role of viruses, and how they impact evolution.
I believe that scientists should continue to “revive” dead viruses, but only to a certain extent. As I mentioned earlier, I have this unreasonable fear that some sort of apocalyptic/Jurassic Park scenario is going to occur, but instead of dinosaurs, viruses will be running rampant. However, I do see the merits of studying “dead” viruses to better understand out past, and how it can affect out futures.