Michelle’s Surprise!

If Darwin were to read this article, he would find it very surprising that humans didn’t evolve from a common ancestor solely based on evolution, but also due to viruses that have shaped our DNA and made us very different from other species. He would find this very surprising (much like I did) because the article essentially provided us with experimental evidence that showed us that viruses are entities that have actually had some positive benefits to them. I found it most surprising that something so small, can and has, impacted each and every species in such a significant matter. This article also made me reach a realization that left me feeling kind of bad. It made me see that the negative connotation I once had about viruses was all wrong and that in reality, we owe it to them for helping us become who we are today. I think that reviving dead viruses should happen as long as they are only revived long enough for them to complete one reproductive cycle. We wouldn’t want a very vicious and strong virus to be around for longer than we need it to. Reviving dead viruses would be very interesting as they’d provide us with an opportunity to add on to our knowledge of how viruses evolve in general and help us better understand a virus’s past.

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

4 Responses to Michelle’s Surprise!

  1. MaddieS says:

    I had also thought viruses to be an enemy to our existence, or as Joshua Lederberg said the “single biggest threat to man’s continued dominance on this planet is the virus.” Though viruses still make a great horror movie, I have a much greater appreciation for them. The single fact that they form the placenta and provide for live birth is awesome! Though I also liked your comment about controlling the production of extinct viruses. That is a terrifying thought and possible tool for biological warfare.

  2. SamanthaO says:

    I agree with your view on this. I’ve always thought that viruses were a threat because they caused so much damage to our DNA. After reading the article, I was amazed at how certain viral codes shaped how humans have evolved today and distinguished us from other species. The fact that viruses can be “revived” makes me a bit worried in case it got into the wrong hands but other than that, I think it can better help us understand how we came to be and what else we might not know about ourselves, others species, and possibly any new viruses that happen to come along in the future.

  3. JulianaC says:

    I agree that Darwin would in fact be shocked if he read this article and discovered that humans evolved in part due to the integration of viruses in our genome. What I found most interesting in this subject came from the idea that viruses developed the animal placenta and may be the cause of an ape’s virtual immunity to the effects of AIDS and a human’s devastating vulnerability. It is difficult for me to imagine that an ancient viral infection could be the cause of the human placenta — an adaptation in some animals that allows them to protect their fetus during development, and in humans, allow for the vital development of the advanced brain. I see that it is both interesting and frustrating that the presence of the virus PtERV in chimps could lead to the null effects of AIDS, while its absence in humans may lead to the virus’s harmful effects. I expect that Darwin too would be surprised that with a closely related animal, we have such a difference that has challenged our defense against viruses. It is startling that scientists are able to revive “dead” viruses, but it is true that you must learn from the past to understand the present. With the knowledge gained from the reproduction and development of ancestral viruses, hopefully we will gain further insight into the base work of the AIDS virus.

  4. DanielleY says:

    I agree that reviving extinct viruses is good because it provides us with a unique opportunity to learn about our past and how humans evolved to be the way we are today. I also found it cool how biologists could just put together a working virus from separate parts. This is definitely a useful technology for observing how a virus works and creating new vaccines to combat it.

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