We have viruses in our DNA
What if I told you that 8% of your DNA consists of ancient viruses and another 40% is made up of what is thought to have a viral origin? So what's the big fuss about viruses, if it lives in all of us anyway?
What if I told you that 8% of your DNA consists of ancient viruses and another 40% is made up of what is thought to have a viral origin?
These extensive viral regions may be deeply involved with a wide range of diseases including multiple sclerosis, haemophilia and certain types of dementia and cancer.
So, what is DNA? Deoxyribonucleic acid, more commonly known as DNA, is a complex molecule that contains all of the information necessary to build and maintain an organism. All living things have DNA within their cells. DNA can replicate or make copies of itself.
Viruses are molecular machines that are much tinier than even the smallest cells. We often associate viruses with flu, chickenpox and more recently coronavirus.
Viruses are part of human life more than you realise. Even after recovering from an infection there will always be a piece of that virus encoded within your DNA (depending on the type of virus).
Viruses are so simple and lay dormant in our bodies. But if something disturbs their sleep, virus can awaken and rebuild their physical bodies. A new physical body means that it has all the tools necessary to copy and paste themselves where they see fit.
These jumping genes are harmless and some even helpful. However, some may be full-on parasites.
For many years, biologists had little understanding of how the connection worked. They used to refer the viral part of our DNA as dark matter with the genome. It is comforting that the virus-related section of the genetic code do not participate in the normal construction and regulation of the body.