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Did Ancient Viruses Spur Human Evolution?
Posted 1/12/14
My idea originally sparked a long time ago when I considered the neurological effects of infectious diseases such as syphilis (bacterial). That if an infectious disease was the cause for our creative evolution, our ability to rationalize would be nothing more than madness; in contrast to every other species on this planet that simply act according to instincts. And for the longest time I had been planning to write a paper on the possibility that archaic viruses might have been the cause for our creative evolution, or at the very least study it more thoroughly, but I never got around to it because I'm too lazy and too stupid to rationalize coherently. That, and I suck at writing. A while ago, however, I stumbled upon some empirical data to support my hypothesis, and it amused me.

In short, once endogenous retroviruses infect the DNA of a species they become part of that species. And since they no longer seem to serve a purpose or cause harm, they have often been referred to as "junk DNA." Although many of these relics still manage to generate proteins, scientists have never found one that functions properly in humans or that could make us sick. That is until Thierry Heidmann brought one to life. Heidmann long suspected that if a retrovirus happens to infect a human sperm cell or egg, and if that embryo survives, the retrovirus could have the evolutionary power to influence humans as a species becoming part of the genetic blueprint, passed from mother to child, and from one generation to the next, much like a gene for eye color or asthma.

So what do you think? Are we not the only species on this planet that are acting completely irrational in contrast to our fellow species whom we share this planet with? Could archaic viruses be the cause for our creative intelligence, abilities to rationalize, and our believes? Is it all just madness, or is this idea all that's mad?

The New Yorker: Biologist Thierry Heidmann rebuilds retroviruses
The Daily Galaxy: Did Ancient Viruses Spur Human Evolution?
Posted 1/12/14
I do not think the idea is that farfetched, considering the mitochondrion itself is thought to be a totally different bacteria that integrated itself into the early ancestral eukaryotic cells (before they split into plants, animals and fungi) because it has its own DNA in its cell.

I don't believe humans are very different from animals in terms of creative thinking; we are just an enhanced version. For example, animals use simple techniques to build traps or to call a mate, we just have a more sophisticated technique of doing those things.
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Posted 1/12/14
Obviously I lack the kind of education in that field to say YES. But my layman opinion would suggest that this doesn't sound far-fetched at all.

I mean it was really interesting to find out that the syncytitrophoblast , which makes it possible for a fetus to fuse to its mother, is actually based on a gene of viral origin. Even the fact that over 8 percent of our DNA is made of viral nature. It surely also has an influence on how much some are susceptible to getting ill or not, and so on.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2012/02/14/mammals-made-by-viruses/#.UtLeFeIXcR0
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100107103621.htm
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Posted 1/12/14 , edited 1/12/14
Yes of course .So did sunlight and altitude,atmospheric pressure,cosmic rays, and O2 etc.......
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Posted 1/13/14
Your idea does make a lot of sense, I mean those who lived during the middle ages who survived the plague, passed onto their children an antigen that protects them from the HIV virus, which changes into the retrovirus AIDS. Viruses can be beneficial but also quite detrimental. I think maybe a new issue might be that these older viruses that we no longer see regularly have been trapped in places such as icebergs and glaciers, and could potentially resurface in the near future, whether or not we'd be affected by them, they could change us or other animals.

I've also read somewhere the "junk DNA" most likely contains what controls specific details about us like hair and eye color. Scientists need to further analyze "junk DNA", just because something doesn't code doesn't mean it's worthless. Such as the X gene in males, and the second X gene in females.
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Posted 1/13/14
The only real difference from humans and are brothers and sisters great apes, is a fused chromosome. Yes A mutation! Other than that we are a young species and share many of the same Vires Junk DNA as the other apes. So no in the end it was a fusion of two Chromosomes that led us down the path of the upright, naked, weaker, less short term memory, less rational, but more creative species known as homo sapiens.
On another note through out earths History their has been 8 or so other human like races other than Humans. So human like animals are not that big of a step as you may think.
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Posted 1/14/14 , edited 1/14/14
When they mapped the human genome some realized there was a hidden programming language embedded in it aka junk dna. All living creatures share this code. DNA has syntax and semantics similar to human languages. This suggests that someone or some thing programmed us into existence. So evolution may not have played a part in our creation, but it may have had a part in our creators beginnings. (creationism & evolution can co-exist)

Amoeba dubia has two hundred times more DNA than people. An onion has four times the DNA than humans. So suggesting this complete programming language that spawned all the living things on earth could have been caused by lightning hitting the water etc. is akin to a tornado creating a boeing 747 plane by happenstance.

The possibility of this is so extremely remote and infinitesimal. Still possible, like one in a googolplex chance.
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Posted 1/14/14 , edited 1/14/14

Darkphoenix3450 wrote:

The only real difference from humans and are brothers and sisters great apes........



1. Did we evolve from monkeys?
Humans did not evolve from monkeys. Humans are more closely related to modern apes than to monkeys, but we didn't evolve from apes, either. Humans share a common ancestor with modern African apes, like gorillas and chimpanzees. Scientists believe this common ancestor existed
5 to 8 million years ago. Shortly thereafter, the species diverged into two separate lineages. One of these lineages ultimately evolved into gorillas and chimps, and the other evolved into early human ancestors called hominids.

Source: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/faq/cat02.html


For the record, I don't believe conventional ideas (or a majority of the details) regarding evolution, but I do know a thing or two about the many misconceptions that evolutions get wrong on the daily basis.
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Posted 1/14/14 , edited 1/14/14

ruijiriku wrote:

Amoeba dubia has two hundred times more DNA than people. An onion has four times the DNA than humans. So suggesting this complete programming language that spawned all the living things on earth could have been caused by lightning hitting the water etc. is akin to a tornado creating a boeing 747 plane by happenstance.




The thing about the DNA is like how larger brains doesn't mean more intelligence.... The "junk DNA" would be more suggestive of we descended from something - whatever would be the creation species probably some type of virus or bacterium - not everything started with a high number of DNA sequences, it most likely would have accumulated over time like how animals have mitochondria which features DNA from something else, a plasmid, and that distinctive sequence isn't so distinctive anymore and because we descended from different parts of the genetic tree each species would have a different number of DNA and chromosomes....


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller%E2%80%93Urey_experiment Chemistry is coolies.
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Posted 1/20/14
Probably. One reason why we didn't die out from the Black Death is because we became immune to the disease. Our immunity systems eventually catch up with the epidemic of the region, so it is possible.
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Posted 1/20/14

firefox39 wrote:

Probably. One reason why we didn't die out from the Black Death is because we became immune to the disease. Our immunity systems eventually catch up with the epidemic of the region, so it is possible.


Or we go through multiple bottleneck events and simple die. Yes, it's likely someone will be immune to something, but bottlenecks are still dangerous. Pandemics are serious business.
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Posted 1/21/14 , edited 1/21/14

firefox39 wrote:

Probably. One reason why we didn't die out from the Black Death is because we became immune to the disease. Our immunity systems eventually catch up with the epidemic of the region, so it is possible.


How does that make sense? The Black Death raged across Europe for only like, four to seven years.
How would people grow immune to it?
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Posted 1/21/14 , edited 1/21/14

Syndicaidramon wrote:

How does that make sense? The Black Death raged across Europe for only like, four to seven years.
How would people grow immune to it?


Actually, as far as I know, descendants of the black death survivors have a special mutation in their genes, which makes them "resistant (not immune)" to the plague, and even to some HIV strains. The similarity between the two is, that in both cases the bacteria/virus tricks the immune system by infiltrating the white blood cells. The mutation that blocks the HIV virus or the BP bacteria to enter the white blood cells is called delta 32. This mutation causes cells to have fewer chemokine receptors, or none at all (if the person has two copies of delta 32). In other words, HIV or the Black Plague has no gateway that would allow them to enter the cells. This mutation is mainly found in Europeans of Scandinavian, German, Russian or English descent.
Research showed that this genetic mutation has already existed at least since the Bronze Age (3200-600 BC). So it's not a mutation that was caused by the plague. But the plague caused selective pressure on the Caucasian population.
Basically, only around 10 percent of Europeans would survive the plague were it to break out again. The rest would still die.

http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050307/full/news050307-15.html
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Posted 1/22/14 , edited 1/22/14

dankuuwut wrote:

So what do you think? Are we not the only species on this planet that are acting completely irrational in contrast to our fellow species whom we share this planet with? Could archaic viruses be the cause for our creative intelligence, abilities to rationalize, and our believes? Is it all just madness, or is this idea all that's mad?

The New Yorker: Biologist Thierry Heidmann rebuilds retroviruses
The Daily Galaxy: Did Ancient Viruses Spur Human Evolution?


Remember science can only tell us how not why. Or it can tell us why but now how. Its metaphorically like the uncertainty principle. Also in your theory you cannot use correlations as you are trying to prove causation.

Beyond that, I think virus mixing dna did play a role in our specific genetic traits. However, I don't think it was the only factor. I think the geography itself played a role. More over, when we look at evolution of life itself, I am amazed that life even exists today and I think we should be grateful for whatever Gods or probability or whatever you believe in. The main point of creation myths and stories was an expression of how lucky we are to have evolved or even simply for the earth to exist. We live on a pretty special spaceship.
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Posted 1/23/14 , edited 1/23/14

dusky186 wrote:

Remember science can only tell us how not why. Or it can tell us why but now how. Its metaphorically like the uncertainty principle. Also in your theory you cannot use correlations as you are trying to prove causation.

Beyond that, I think virus mixing dna did play a role in our specific genetic traits. However, I don't think it was the only factor. I think the geography itself played a role. More over, when we look at evolution of life itself, I am amazed that life even exists today and I think we should be grateful for whatever Gods or probability or whatever you believe in. The main point of creation myths and stories was an expression of how lucky we are to have evolved or even simply for the earth to exist. We live on a pretty special spaceship.


Uhm, I beg your pardon, but what has creationism to do in this thread?
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