Horizontal gene transfer on skates. Wow, re evolution. From ScienceDaily:
A new study finds that viruses share some genes exclusively with cells that are not their hosts. The study, reported in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, adds to the evidence that viruses swap genes with a variety of cellular organisms and are agents of diversity, researchers say.
The study looked at protein structures in viruses and across all superkingdoms, or domains, of life: from the single-celled microbes known as bacteria and archaea, to eukaryotes, a group that includes animals, plants, fungi and all other living things.
“It is typical to define viruses in relation to their hosts, but this practice restricts our understanding of virus-cell interactions,” said University of Illinois and COMSATS Institute of Information Technology researcher Arshan Nasir, who led the new research with Gustavo Caetano-Anolles, a professor of crop sciences and affiliate of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the U. of I., and Kyung Mo Kim, a senior scientist at the Korea Polar Research Institute, in Incheon, South Korea.
”Recent research has revealed that organisms can form partnerships with other organisms and live in communities. For example, many bacterial and archaeal species reside in and on the human body and constitute the human microbiota,” Nasir said.
Viruses that infect archaea and bacteria, for example, are not known to infect eukarya. However, they may still interact in nonharmful ways with organisms they do not infect, the researchers said.
“While people tend to think only about viruses that infect and kill their hosts, we have known for decades that a virus will sometimes enter into a cell and incorporate its genetic material into the cell without killing it,” Caetano-Anolles said. In the case of single-celled organisms, those genes are sometimes passed along to future generations, he said.
Human DNA, too, contains remnants of viruses. Paper. (public access) – Shahana S. Malik, Syeda Azem-e-Zahra, Kyung Mo Kim, Gustavo Caetano-Anollés, Arshan Nasir. Do Viruses Exchange Genes across Superkingdoms of Life? Frontiers in Microbiology, 2017; 8 DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.02110 More.
Well, this certainly isn’t the Darwin-in-the-schools’ lobby’s “evolution.”
See also: Horizontal gene transfer: Sorry, Darwin, it’s not your evolution any more
Note re vid: “lateral” = “horizontal”
On viruses, like you never knew them before:
Why viruses are not considered to be alive
Another stab at whether viruses are alive
Phil Sci journal: Special section on understanding viruses
Why “evolution” is changing? Consider viruses
The Scientist asks, Should giant viruses be the fourth domain of life? Eukaryotes, prokaryotes, archaea… and viruses?
Are viruses nature’s perfect machine? Or alive?