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Viruses powered human evolution?

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Aminopeptidase N adapted repeatedly to evade coronavirus/ David Enard

From ScienceDaily:

The constant battle between pathogens and their hosts has long been recognized as a key driver of evolution, but until now scientists have not had the tools to look at these patterns globally across species and genomes. In a new study, researchers apply big-data analysis to reveal the full extent of viruses’ impact on the evolution of humans and other mammals.

Their findings suggest an astonishing 30 percent of all protein adaptations since humans’ divergence with chimpanzees have been driven by viruses.

“We’re all interested in how it is that we and other organisms have evolved, and in the pressures that made us what we are,” said Petrov. “The discovery that this constant battle with viruses has shaped us in every aspect — not just the few proteins that fight infections, but everything — is profound. All organisms have been living with viruses for billions of years; this work shows that those interactions have affected every part of the cell.” More. Paper. (public access) – David Enard, Le Cai, Carina Gwennap, Dmitri A Petrov. Viruses are a dominant driver of protein adaptation in mammals. eLife, 2016; 5 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.12469

Good find but the main conclusion drawn is fever swamp territory. Viruses did not, on their own, evolve the human mind and that is the main thing we wonder about.

See also: Straight talk from Searle on free will

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5 Replies to “Viruses powered human evolution?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    as to this claim:

    The constant battle between pathogens and their hosts has long been recognized as a key driver of evolution,

    and yet, contrary to the ‘constant battle’, i.e. ‘survival of the fittest’, assumption of Darwinian evolution, it is now found that there is far more cooperation between organisms than is presupposed by Darwinists. The following researchers said they were ‘banging our heads against the wall’ by the contradictory findings to Darwinian theory that they had found:

    Doubting Darwin: Algae Findings Surprise Scientists – April 28, 2014
    Excerpt: One of Charles Darwin’s hypotheses posits that closely related species will compete for food and other resources more strongly with one another than with distant relatives, because they occupy similar ecological niches. Most biologists long have accepted this to be true.
    Thus, three researchers were more than a little shaken to find that their experiments on fresh water green algae failed to support Darwin’s theory,,,
    “It was completely unexpected,” says Bradley Cardinale, associate professor in the University of Michigan’s school of natural resources & environment. “When we saw the results, we said ‘this can’t be.”‘ We sat there banging our heads against the wall. Darwin’s hypothesis has been with us for so long, how can it not be right?”
    The researchers ,,,— were so uncomfortable with their results that they spent the next several months trying to disprove their own work. But the research held up.,,,
    The scientists did not set out to disprove Darwin, but, in fact, to learn more about the genetic and ecological uniqueness of fresh water green algae so they could provide conservationists with useful data for decision-making. “We went into it assuming Darwin to be right, and expecting to come up with some real numbers for conservationists,” Cardinale says. “When we started coming up with numbers that showed he wasn’t right, we were completely baffled.”,,,
    Darwin “was obsessed with competition,” Cardinale says. “He assumed the whole world was composed of species competing with each other, but we found that one-third of the species of algae we studied actually like each other. They don’t grow as well unless you put them with another species. It may be that nature has a heck of a lot more mutualisms than we ever expected.
    “,,, Maybe Darwin’s presumption that the world may be dominated by competition is wrong.”

    In fact, instead of eating us, as would be expected in a Darwinian view of ‘survival of the fittest’, time after time different types of viruses and microbial life are found to be helping us in essential ways that have nothing to do with the ‘survival of the fittest’ presumption of Darwinian evolution,,,

    (Bacteriophage) Viruses in the gut protect from infection – 20 May 2013
    Excerpt: Barr and his colleagues,, show that animal mucus — whether from humans, fish or corals — is loaded with bacteria-killing viruses called phages. These protect their hosts from infection by destroying incoming bacteria. In return, the phages are exposed to a steady torrent of microbes in which to reproduce. “It’s a unique form of symbiosis, between animals and viruses,” says Rotem Sorek, a microbial geneticist ,,
    “It’s groundbreaking,” adds Frederic Bushman, a microbiologist ,, “The idea that phage can be viewed as part of the innate immune system is original and exciting.

    NIH Human Microbiome Project defines normal bacterial makeup of the body – June 13, 2012
    Excerpt: Microbes inhabit just about every part of the human body, living on the skin, in the gut, and up the nose. Sometimes they cause sickness, but most of the time, microorganisms live in harmony with their human hosts, providing vital functions essential for human survival.

    We are living in a bacterial world, and it’s impacting us more than previously thought – February 15, 2013
    Excerpt: We often associate bacteria with disease-causing “germs” or pathogens, and bacteria are responsible for many diseases, such as tuberculosis, bubonic plague, and MRSA infections. But bacteria do many good things, too, and the recent research underlines the fact that animal life would not be the same without them.,,,
    I am,, convinced that the number of beneficial microbes, even very necessary microbes, is much, much greater than the number of pathogens.”

    “Microbial life can easily live without us; we, however, cannot survive without the global catalysis and environmental transformations it provides.”
    – Paul G. Falkowski – Professor Geological Sciences – Rutgers

    Moreover, contrary to Darwinian thought, many pathogenic viruses and bacteria are caused by a loss of functional complexity not a gain.

    The independent evolution of harmful organisms from one bacterial family – April 21, 2014
    Excerpt: “Before this study, there was uncertainty about what path these species took to become pathogenic: had they split from a shared common pathogenic ancestor? Or had they evolved independently”,,,
    By examining the whole genomes of both the pathogenic and non-pathogenic species, they were able to determine that many of the metabolic functions, lost by the pathogenic species, were ancestral. These functions were probably important for growth in a range of niches, and have been lost rather than gained in specific family lines in the Yersinia family.
    “We commonly think bacteria must gain genes to allow them to become pathogens. However, we now know that the loss of genes and the streamlining of the pathogen’s metabolic capabilities are key features in the evolution of these disease-causing bacteria,”

    Same with Malaria

    Genome sequencing of chimpanzee malaria parasites reveals possible pathways of adaptation to human hosts – 18 July 2014
    In summary,,, homologues are found in all Plasmodium species, implying a universal and ancient role in the relationship between Plasmodium parasites and their vertebrate hosts.
    There are 568 rif genes in P. reichenowi and only 185 in P. falciparum, with the number of pseudogenes differing by a similar ratio (49 and 27, respectively; Table 2 and Fig. 2b). The number of stevor genes is also higher in P. reichenowi (66) than in P. falciparum (42). Successful colonization of humans is therefore clearly possible with a much reduced repertoire of these two important multigene families.

    Moreover, if evolution by natural selection were actually the truth about how all life came to be on Earth then the only life that would be around would be extremely small organisms with the highest replication rate, and with the most ‘mutational firepower’, since only they, since they greatly outclass multi-cellular organism in terms of ‘reproductive success’ and ‘mutational firepower’, would be fittest to survive in the dog eat dog world where blind pitiless evolution ruled and only the fittest were allowed to survive. The logic of this is nicely summed up here in this Richard Dawkins video:

    Richard Dawkins interview with a ‘Darwinian’ physician goes off track – video
    Excerpt: “I am amazed, Richard, that what we call metazoans, multi-celled organisms, have actually been able to evolve, and the reason [for amazement] is that bacteria and viruses replicate so quickly — a few hours sometimes, they can reproduce themselves — that they can evolve very, very quickly. And we’re stuck with twenty years at least between generations. How is it that we resist infection when they can evolve so quickly to find ways around our defenses?”

    In fact, since bacteria and viruses replicate so much more quickly than we do, then that is how Michael Behe was able to find ‘the Edge of Evolution’

    A review of The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism
    The numbers of Plasmodium and HIV in the last 50 years greatly exceeds the total number of mammals since their supposed evolutionary origin (several hundred million years ago), yet little has been achieved by evolution. This suggests that mammals could have “invented” little in their time frame. Behe: ‘Our experience with HIV gives good reason to think that Darwinism doesn’t do much—even with billions of years and all the cells in that world at its disposal’ (p. 155).
    per creation dot com

    “The immediate, most important implication is that complexes with more than two different binding sites-ones that require three or more proteins-are beyond the edge of evolution, past what is biologically reasonable to expect Darwinian evolution to have accomplished in all of life in all of the billion-year history of the world. The reasoning is straightforward. The odds of getting two independent things right are the multiple of the odds of getting each right by itself. So, other things being equal, the likelihood of developing two binding sites in a protein complex would be the square of the probability for getting one: a double CCC, 10^20 times 10^20, which is 10^40. There have likely been fewer than 10^40 cells in the world in the last 4 billion years, so the odds are against a single event of this variety in the history of life. It is biologically unreasonable.”
    – Michael Behe – The Edge of Evolution – page 146

    Frankly, contrary to whatever Darwinists may believe, it is very good that there is a strict limit to what Darwinian processes can create, (Behe: 2 protein/protein binding site limit; Edge of Evolution), since it allows us to develop drug treatments that are beyond the capacity of Darwinian processes to overcome:

    Guide of the Perplexed: A Quick Reprise of The Edge of Evolution – Michael Behe – August 20, 2014
    Excerpt: If there were a second drug with the efficacy of chloroquine which had always been administered in combination with it (but worked by a different mechanism), resistance to the combination would be expected to arise with a frequency in the neighborhood of 1 in 10^40 — a medical triumph.

    The multiple drug cocktail that has been so effective in controlling HIV uses much the same strategy of being beyond the ‘edge of evolution’ that Dr. Behe has elucidated:

    When taking any single drug, it is fairly likely that some mutant virus in the patient might happen to be resistant, survive the onslaught, and spawn a resistant lineage.
    But the probability that the patient hosts a mutant virus that happens to be resistant to several different drugs at the same time is much lower.,,,
    it “costs” a pest or pathogen to be resistant to a pesticide or drug. If you place resistant and non-resistant organisms in head-to-head competition in the absence of the pesticide or drug, the non-resistant organisms generally win.,,,
    This therapy has shown early, promising results — it may not eliminate HIV, but it could keep patients’ virus loads low for a long time, slowing progression of the disease.

  2. 2
    Andre says:

    Aah So global warming accelerated evolution and viruses took over from there and helped Human evolution, it all makes perfect sense! The question is then, are the viruses trying to tell us to fight global warming perhaps they don’t like global warming or are we fighting it because we don’t want viruses to evolve us more?

    Science is glorious!

  3. 3
    buffalo says:

    All the World’s a Phage
    Viruses that eat bacteria abound—and surprise
    Bacteriophages represent a “vast, untapped wealth of genetic information,” says Pedulla. They’re “the pinnacle of creation,” adds Pedulla’s colleague Graham Hatfull, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of Pittsburgh. “Phages represent the major form of life in the biosphere.”

  4. 4
    Dionisio says:

    They keep changing their mind: 🙂

  5. 5
    Dionisio says:

    Understanding the amazingly complex human cerebral cortex requires a map (or parcellation) of its major subdivisions, known as cortical areas. Making an accurate areal map has been a century-old objective in neuroscience.

    A multi-modal parcellation of human cerebral cortex

    Matthew F. Glasser, Timothy S. Coalson, Emma C. Robinson, Carl D. Hacker, John Harwell, Essa Yacoub, Kamil Ugurbil, Jesper Andersson, Christian F. Beckmann, Mark Jenkinson, Stephen M. Smith & David C. Van Essen

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