Darwin’s Suprise

Darwin believed that humans descended from ancient primates, but he had no idea that we also descended from viruses as well. He would find the concept that humans and their evolutionary relatives share most of the same viruses in their genomes suprising, but it would provide further support for his theory of a common ancestor.

What I found most suprising about the article was that a drug could potentially be made that mimics how a protein found in chimpanzees neutralizes HIV. The only limitation, it seems, is how to make it so the body will not reject the drug. It amazes me that the more we study other animals, the more health benefits we can obtain from understanding their biology.

I used to think that viruses were only harmful to organisms, but now I understand that some are crucial for the evolution of a species. The placenta, for example, could not have been formed without the involvement of retroviruses, which would have prevented the evolution of most mammalian species. The article strongly suggests that viruses actually serve a biological purpose, which is to help evolve a species.

I believe scientists should continue to revive dead viruses in order to better understand how viruses function. Doing so will expedite progress towards finding cures for the most deadly ones, as well as bettering our understanding of evolution. Granted, it does come with the risk of someone potentially reviving and releasing an ancient virus in a highly populated area, but like most scientific advancements, risk should not deter progress towards a greater goal.

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