In reading “Darwin’s Surprise,” I was introduced to many different ideas and proposals that have stemmed from virology and various types of viruses.
I think what lends most to the title of “Darwin’s Surprise” is the concept of endogenous viruses; these are both genes and viruses. This special type of virus suggests that the retroviruses that infected humans many million years ago have actually been a part of our genetic makeup. Their genome has been taken into the human genome, becoming a part of noncoding DNA humans have now.
In determining this, there was an obvious connection between chimpanzees and humans. This perhaps could have been most surprising to Darwin because he based his theory on the findings that different series had a common ancestor. In understanding that there is dormant viral DNA in both of the species, may allow us to determine when these species separated from each other.
I think the article proposed many interesting ideas. I also hope to be able to use this information to serve as a foundation for more research on viruses and how they have impacted the human genome.