Thursday, June 6, 2013

The origin of viruses revealed!

Explaining the origin of viruses remains an important challenge for evolutionary biology. Previous explanatory frameworks described viruses as founders of cellular life, as parasitic reductive products of ancient cellular organisms or as escapees of modern genomes [1]. Each of these frameworks endow viruses with distinct molecular, cellular, dynamic and emergent properties that carry broad and important implications for many disciplines, including biology, ecology and epidemiology. A recent genome-wide structural phylogenomic analysis shows that large-to-medium-sized viruses coevolved with cellular ancestors and have chosen the evolutionary reductive route [2].
  1. Nasir et al. (2012) Viral evolution: Primordial cellular origins and late adaptation to parasitism. Mob. Genet. Elements 2(5): 247-252.
  2. Nasir et al. (2012) Giant viruses coexisted with the cellular ancestors and represent a distinct supergroup along with superkingdoms Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya. BMC Evol. Biol. 12: 156.

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