posted on Mar, 25 2016 @ 01:39 PM
Professor Sykes - Thanks for participating in this Q&A.
My question is about endogenous retroviruses. I read a book by Greg Bear entitled "Darwin's Radio" - perhaps you have heard of it. The story line
revolves around a prehistoric endogenous retrovirus which is activated and causes evolutionary change.
My understanding is that endogenous retroviruses can be triggered, but rarely cause any change or deleterious effect.
How likely is it that an ancient retrovirus which embedded in the human/primate genome could cause evolutionary change? We know that certain genetic
anomalies like oncogenes can trigger cancer and that they are inheritable.
But how likely is it that endogenous retroviruses could be triggered to cause permanent change in the organism i.e. evolutionary change?
If this turned out to be true, then the process of evolution would not only be due to stresses in the environment, but would also be an internal
mechanism via the genes which "makes decisions" as to when and how evolution of a species is triggered.
Thanks again for taking our questions.
edit on 25-3-2016 by Phantom423 because: (no reason given)