Title

Not Only Human: The Viruses in Your DNA

Document Type

Other

Rights

This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only

Disciplines

1.6 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES

Publication Details

RTE Brainstorm, Updated / Thursday, 25 Apr 2019 16:02.

Abstract

A souvenir could be a photograph from a great trip or a fridge magnet or some tacky ornament made of seashells. Or it could be some DNA from a viral infection our ancestors got millions of years ago.

Our DNA is not only human and up to 8% of it came from viruses. These little infectious agents are so small that they don’t even contain sufficient tools to reproduce. They get around this problem by infecting cells and using their machinery to make lots of copies of themselves, which then go on to infect more cells and so on. The damage they cause to cells when they’re doing this is what makes us sick.

Share

COinS