Not Only Human: The Viruses in Your DNA
Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence
1.6 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
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.
Martinez, V. (2019). Not only human: the viruses in your DNA. RTE Brainstorm, Thursday, 25th April, 2019 at 16.02 pm. doi:10.21427/1bvx-6h16