This article is titled “Darwin’s Surprise” because he was the main guy who proved evolution by the means of natural selection, and this article talks about the discovery of viruses and how they can insert their genes into our genome and become passed down through a species. This foreign viral DNA that is passed down has been proven to give us advantages, thus aiding us in our own evolution. Darwin had no knowledge of chromosomes or DNA so he would probably be insanely overwhelmed of how much biology has progressed because not only do we know what our genetic code structure is, we can find and isolate specific genes and understand the interactions of proteins that creates these phenotypic traits. Then, he would probably freak out about the idea of a parasite being able to fuse its own genetic information with our own in our gametes and then become a permanent part of the new generations genome. This effect viruses can have on our own genome opens up a whole new area of genetic variation. We now know that evolution can be by the means of interactions between viruses and organisms.
What really excites me in the article is the fact that a certain viral code that resides in our species genome has to do with our placenta, which was a very big turning point in evolution and enabled us to give live birth instead of lay eggs, which was deemed advantageous in that environment. THANK YOU VIRUS.
Also, it’s really cool that scientists are able to find specific fragments of viral dna in our genomes and then reconstruct an extinct virus, and then use the information learned about this old virus to aid the synthesization of vaccines for living viruses. Although reviving dead viruses sound scary and dangerous, it is a huge help because of all the information it can give us, so this reviving should be utilized. We are already able to engineer highly destructive viruses, yet that has not stopped scientists from experimenting and building and learning from this manipulation, so why not “revive” these dead viruses and learn from them as well.