[FoRK] UNINTELLIGENT DESIGN
Albert S. <
albert.scherbinsky at rogers.com
> on >
Wed Mar 15 15:12:14 PST 2006
Great Article Matt. BTW the link to the whole article
The article goes beyond whether or not viruses are
alive and suggests that they may very well be the
origin of all life. Cool.
--- mattj at newsblip.com wrote:
> Quoting Joe Barrera <joe at barrera.org>:
> > Besides, are viruses* alive?
> There's a terrific article in Discover this month...
> UNINTELLIGENT DESIGN
> "A monstrous discovery suggests that viruses, long
> regarded as lowly
> evolutionary latecomers, may have been the
> precursors of all life on
> DISCOVER Vol. 27 No. 03 | March 2006 | Biology &
> "We have a lot of evidence with Mimivirus that the
> virus phylum is at
> least as old as the other branches of life and that
> viruses were
> involved very early on in the evolutionary emergence
> of life."
> That represents a radical change in thinking about
> life's origins:
> Viruses, long thought to be biology's hitchhikers,
> turn out to have
> been biology's formative force.
> The implications of [that analysis] are truly
> radical: that Mimi, or a
> Mimi-like ancestor, emerged prior to the three other
> domains and played
> a key role in inventing the very cells of which
> humans and all complex
> cellular life-forms are made.
> It is a difficult concept to get one's head around.
> Parasites, to us,
> are derivative, necessarily descendant from the
> biological entities
> they depend on for life. But simple does not always
> mean less evolved.
> Mimi's outsize complement of genes?so large that the
> virus is
> tantalizingly close to being an independent
> organism?suggest to many
> scientists that Mimivirus underwent reductive
> evolution early on and
> shed some of its genome, including the genes
> necessary to replicate on
> its own.
> "With Mimi, we've captured by chance a picture of an
> organism that was
> undergoing such a reduction, evolving toward fewer
> genes," says
> Claverie. "This guy just retained more ancestral
> features than others."
> Biologists, Claverie says, can no longer view
> viruses as random
> assemblages of genes. "We have to confer to these
> guys a nobility, a
> genealogy. Not only a genealogy. They are very
> ancestral, and their
> ancestors are at least contemporary with ours and
> those of all
> present-day life-forms."
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