Viruses are our Ancestors? – Hmm…

The news is doing rounds all around the web and it is indeed quite thought provoking and mind boggling discovery.. Before I tell you the news, here is an extract from one of the story:

“”Scientists estimate that they have discovered and documented less than 1 percent of all the living things on the planet. But for every organism in that unidentified 99 percent, at least 10 times as many unknown viruses are thought to exist, the vast majority of which are harmless to life and yet integral to it.””

I have always thought that there are too few viruses and most of them are harmful. But, a newly discovered virus Mimivirus is “so much more genetically complex than all previously known viruses, not to mention a number of bacteria, that it seems to call for a dramatic redrawing of the tree of life.”

This virus has over 1000 genes, is huge by standards of a virus. It even has DNA repairing system. It has certainly blurred the lines between living and non-living. Perhaps, now we need a scale in place of absolutes ๐Ÿ™‚

More about Mimi: “Mimi is one of the few viruses visible under a standard light microscope.”

I can’t stop, one more exciting piece of information, “And then there are deeply derivative entities called satellites, metaviruses that can replicate only within a virus that is already busy inside a host.”

Excerpt: “” Back when the three domains of life were emerging, a large DNA virus very much like Mimi may have made its way inside a bacterium or an archaean and, rather than killing it, harmlessly persisted there. The eukaryotic cell nucleus and large, complex DNA viruses like Mimi share a compelling number of biological traits. They both replicate in the cell cytoplasm, and on doing so, each uses the same machinery within the cytoplasm to form a new membrane around itself. They both have certain enzymes for capping messenger RNA, and they both have linear chromosomes rather than the circular ones typically found in a bacterium. “”

“If this is true,” Forterre has said of the viral-nucleus hypothesis, “then we are all basically descended from viruses.”

“The human genome, considered as a mass, contains more retrovirus sequences than actual genes.” ๐Ÿ™‚

Click here to read the story.