Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Viruses have a strong role in Evolution

A story making the rounds reports on a study that suggests that viruses may have had a very strong influence on human evolution.  The Economic Times reports the following:
In a new study, researchers apply big-data analysis to reveal the full extent of viruses' impact on the evolution of humans and other mammals.

The findings suggest an astonishing 30 per cent of all protein adaptations since humans' divergence with chimpanzees have been driven by viruses.

"When you have a pandemic or an epidemic at some point in evolution, the population that is targeted by the virus either adapts, or goes extinct," said David Enard, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University.

“We knew that, but what really surprised us is the strength and clarity of the pattern we found,” said Enard.
This is not so surprising. We already know that endogenous retroviruses have had a very large role to play in human evolution and that the pattern of their dispersal provides some of the best evidence of common ancestry.

1 comment:

    One of the new Fabich articles on the AiG website is about the Zika virus. But he appears to know little about E coli bacteria.