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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Viruses declared to be a key factor directing the evolution of man

About one-third of proteins that distinguish modern man from the monkeys have become such as are now, or under the influence of a virus, or because dealing with them. Thus, the microorganisms that most scientists don’t recognize life form in the full sense of the word, played a key and likely a Central role in the formation of the “current” human, says a team of specialists under the direction of David Enard from Stanford University .

photo: Gennady Cherkasov

Viruses are infectious agents that replicate only inside living cells, using the resources of these cells to create copies of itself. Some species of these microorganisms can directly impact the DNA of media, “embedding” it in new areas.

Biologists note that on the significant effect of viruses on the course of evolution has been known for a long time. This is particularly evident during major epidemics, during which the best chance to survive and leave offspring get organisms that are able to resist infection or, alternatively, effectively “co-exist” with the virus, in some cases, even removing most of it. However, the results of a new study makes for a fresh look at how actively viruses direct the evolution of different living creatures, including people.

Experts have studied the structure approximately 1.3 thousand proteins, or otherwise physically interact with viruses after the evolutionary branches of humans and chimpanzees diverged. Not all of these cells were part of the immune system, the researchers note. On the basis of the information received was compiled by a special algorithm which allowed to find out what associated with reaction to the presence of virus proteins and genes in the evolution of the transformed three times faster than others. According to scientists, it allows us to come to the conclusion that viruses are “responsible” for approximately 30 percent of the changes that has undergone the human genome in relatively recent times, and we are talking about the changes a wide variety.

Scientific article on their research, the scientists published in the journal eLife.

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