virus theory

Graham Shepherd muhero at
Sat Apr 18 16:10:07 EST 1998

Phil wrote in message <35357FB5.5B7 at>...
>Karl Roberts wrote:
>> Dear Fred and Rachel,
>> Your professor's idea is an interesting one indeed. I have often wondered
>> if viruses, viroids, and prions were in fact genetic "accidents",
>> of random mutation of the genetic code of ancestral prokaryotic and
>> eukaryotic cells. If we can accept the concept of endosymbiosis, such as
>> proposed by Dr. Lynn Margulis, why is it far-fetched to hypothesize that
>> such infectious particles could have arisen in a reverse fashion, then
>> began the processes of adapting to and evolving with their eventual
>> hosts? Good question.
>> Karl J. Roberts, Ph.D.
>> Maryland, USA
>>  On Wed, 15 Apr 1998, Fred & Rachel Brusseau wrote:
>> > Food for thought.....
>> >
>> > Yesterday in my Developmental Biology class my professor proposed an
>> > interesting theory. He thinks that human virus' are derived from
>> > They are bits of our DNA that have somehow disassociated from our body
>> > and evolved into what they are today. I can't remember the details of
>> > his example, but he said the theory came to him when he read about a
>> > virus that had complete homology (with exception of one base pair) with
>> > a portion of human DNA. I think it is a radical, but interesting idea.
>> > I'm in awe while trying to comprehend the mechanism and implications.
>> >
>> > When I first heard him talking about it I wanted to laugh, but then I
>> > thought a reoccurring theme in science. Some of the best ideas have
>> > tossed aside as "hogwash", only later to be proven true!
>> >
>> > Any comments?
>> >
>> > Rachel Brusseau
>> >
>> >
>This is a far cry from Margulis and is just mere speculation.  Coul;dn't
>the "professor" offer any mechansm?  Might as well say they came from
>Mars, cockroaches or were the basis for human development and evolution.

Evolution requires rearrangements in nucleic acid sequences. Since the viral
particle does not replicate outside the cell, it follows that all viral
evolution must happen within the host cell. There is nowhere else for the
virus to come from - that's where it lives.

Where the original nucleic acid came from that started the process is
another matter - perhaps viruses are an alternative evolutionary path
branching from cellular life forms at an early stage in the evolution of


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