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Giant Viruses Are Ancient Living Organisms

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posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 11:25 AM
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Giant Viruses Are Ancient Living Organisms

A new study of giant viruses supports the idea that viruses are ancient living organisms and not inanimate molecular remnants run amok, as some scientists have argued. The study may reshape the universal family tree, adding a fourth major branch to the three that most scientists agree represent the fundamental domains of life....

The researchers used a relatively new method to peer into the distant past. Rather than comparing genetic sequences, which are unstable and change rapidly over time, they looked for evidence of past events in the three-dimensional, structural domains of proteins. These structural motifs, called folds, are relatively stable molecular fossils that – like the fossils of human or animal bones – offer clues to ancient evolutionary events, says Univ. of Illinois crop sciences and Institute for Genomic Biology professor Gustavo Caetano-Anollés, who led the analysis.


I found this to be a fascinating read. I thought I'd post it here to read others perspectives on this possibility. I'm no expert on the topic but thought if this is true then the implications would be fairly drastic and could open a whole other angle on life here on earth and possibly on other worlds.

Considering the nature of Viruses to survive, we may need to rethink about the requirements for life elsewhere.....
edit on 14-9-2012 by SLAYER69 because: (no reason given)




posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 11:28 AM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 


S&F!



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 11:48 AM
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Interesting...could possibly explain why the modern world behaves much like a virus. Subconscious cues from remnant DNA from virus ancestors controlling our decisions/progressions on a subconscious level.

I've honestly wondered sometimes if all of humanity isn't under the control of some yet to be identified parasite that is controlling us like machines to do their bidding. The differences in culture and social beliefs could be nothing more than differences in the parasite species...

ahhh speculation is a wonderful thing that can also be pretty frighting at times.



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 11:54 AM
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reply to post by Sly1one
 


That's an interesting take on it. I've never really considered it...


Que the "Pod People" music.........



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 12:00 PM
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Well I think it's about time for the paradigm to shift once again, so to speak. Just in time for these masses whom believe in a mass awakening of some sort. Great read.



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 12:16 PM
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reply to post by Sly1one
 


you mean like this?

Cat parasite can affect humans

This parasite, if i remember correctly, has also been shown to make mice more "adventurous" and thus more likely to be eaten.



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 12:29 PM
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reply to post by VonDoomen
 


Or this







posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 12:31 PM
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Its very well possible they were our precursors, or at least a variants of them, because look at them, they have the code but not sure if they are "alive", smaller than bacteria and our body cells.

Virus are very interesting.



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 05:20 PM
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Thanks everybody


I thought some here would appreciate the story.



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 05:46 PM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 


that could explain why they are nothing like any other living thing today, they just didnt become complex like other creatures



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 10:57 PM
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reply to post by connorromanow
 


I've always wondered about that.



posted on Sep, 15 2012 @ 05:38 AM
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reply to post by Sly1one
 

It's quite well known that viruses can alter host behaviour. There are many examples like the Toxoplasma gondi story linked to by VonDoomen, and they all seem to involve parasites that live part of their life cycle in one host and part in another. There are parasites that live in fish and seabirds; infected fish jiggle about in the water as they swim, reflecting flashes of sunlight and making it easy for the birds to spot and target them. Other parasites live in certain birds and snails; they make the snails change their usual behaviour of hiding in the shadows and cause them to crawl out into the open, where the birds lunch on them.

It's certainly possible that such things happen to humans, too. If T. gondi lowers human IQ, it's probably lowered mine; I've had cats for decades, and some of them were pretty good ratters.

Then again, organisms also evolve resistance to parasites over time. Evolutionary pressure due to parasite infections is probably how sex arose; sexual reproduction allows for gene reshuffling, giving parasite-resistant genes a chance to spread through a population. By doing what comes naturally, we make it unlikely that ancient parasites are controlling the evolution of human culture.

It's just as likely that they have become part of us, incorporated into our genomes for their functional utility. Viral relics make up about eight percent of human DNA, and benefit us in various ways. They're not using us; we're using them.

Anyone who wants to read about the subject in more detail will find the following paper very interesting:

An alternative approach to medical genetics based on modern evolutionary biology, Part 2: retroviral symbiosis – Ryan, F.P., 2009, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine

edit on 15/9/12 by Astyanax because: of lunching birds.



posted on Sep, 15 2012 @ 05:56 AM
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Originally posted by Sly1one
I've honestly wondered sometimes if all of humanity isn't under the control of some yet to be identified parasite that is controlling us like machines to do their bidding. The differences in culture and social beliefs could be nothing more than differences in the parasite species...

ahhh speculation is a wonderful thing that can also be pretty frighting at times.


Humanity is under the control of mind programming from birth... which turns a lot of people into scientific materialists, and a human who doesnt believe their life has any purpose will become selfish and have no regard for the well being of others. He sees himself as an animal driven by insticts only.



posted on Sep, 15 2012 @ 06:50 AM
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Humanity is a virus, we infect, we spread and we destroy.

Interesting article



posted on Sep, 15 2012 @ 10:14 PM
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Just wanted to say many people here are confusing Virus and Parasite. Toxoplasma Gondii is not a virus. As to virus being alive, that is a debate that has raged for a long time, and I suspect will range for a long time still.



posted on Sep, 15 2012 @ 11:56 PM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 


So they purposely stayed small so they could live within everything else that existed ?

What a smart way to survive....Survive within anything all the while, them not knowing.

Am I close ?



posted on Sep, 16 2012 @ 12:34 AM
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reply to post by OccamsRazor04
 


Just wanted to say many people here are confusing Virus and Parasite.

All parasites are not viruses, but all viruses are parasites. They need a host in order to complete their life-cycle and reproduce.



posted on Sep, 16 2012 @ 12:42 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


The rest of my post adds clarity into my message. The small portion you quoted lacks context.



posted on Sep, 16 2012 @ 01:59 AM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 



I'm no expert on the topic but thought if this is true then the implications would be fairly drastic and could open a whole other angle on life here on earth and possibly on other worlds.


Honestly, I think a much more appropriate change is in order for the classification of life and its forms.

It's called the Red Queen Hypothesis. Basically - who we are, what we are, and how we evolved is not a product of random mutations selected by environmental factors so much as we have been honed by a billion year long process to propagate the genetic code our body serves (a critical concept of the Red Queen Hypothesis is that one understands it is genetic code that evolves based on the concept of reproduction - everything else is a consequence).

Think about it. Sex is a completely illogical thing. Men can never have children on their own - we must, instead, waste valuable time and resources finding a mate and getting to the process of procreating when we could, simply, pop out a duplicate of ourselves.

There must be some reason sex 'won' and cloning is not the norm.

The answer is simple. Parasites. Bacteria, viruses, even mutant segments of genetic code can all be considered parasitic. In order to survive - those parasites also evolve, which drives their hosts to evolve a counter - and so on, and so-forth. One only maintains a small edge over the other for a short period of time - but it's enough to ensure survival.

It's also the only sensible explanation for why DNA would intentionally mutate itself in sexual reproduction (recombinant). It's worthwhile to the strand replicating itself to scramble some of the genetic code going to its offspring - so that the two (or more) offspring are dissimilar enough that one or two may possess a trait (such as a different 'security key' on the cell membrane) that diminishes the effectiveness of a virus that decimates your other kids.

One of the interesting and "new" phenomena to be realized is that of parasitic DNA.

www.americanscientist.org...

blog.powersof10.com...

While the study and group ultimately cautioned against generalizing such DNA as "selfish" or "parasitic" - the dynamic is discussed: www.jstor.org...

Basically - even at the single-celled organism level, certain strands of DNA code in a sequence to replicate itself and have the host bacteria inject it into a local bacteria.

This is a very decent overview and discussion: www.pnas.org...

I find it far more likely that viruses actually evolved as an expression of these 'selfish' strands of DNA - and once you create a new 'weapon' in an arms race, it doesn't go away - it only gets amplified and modified by Red Queen evolution.


Considering the nature of Viruses to survive, we may need to rethink about the requirements for life elsewhere.....


Here's the problem.

Viruses don't replicate 'naturally.' Their natural form of replication involves the cell - the only self-replicating structure we've really come across (unless you count crystalline formations - but that's self-assembly more than reproduction).

It's far easier to see viruses evolving from existing cell lines than it is to see them coming about separately.

Of course - that leaves the question of where life came from to begin with - but I'm not so convinced that the past we infer actually existed.... though that's a discussion on origins theories which is well beyond the scope of this discussion.



posted on Sep, 16 2012 @ 08:37 AM
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WHOA!! THANKS FOR POSTING THIS SLAYER!!!

To clear up the difference between parasites and viruses for anyone who might be confused:

On the macroscopic level, the main difference between parasites and viruses is that a successful parasite does not kill its host (because then the parasite dies too), viruses routinely kill their host - they're like honey badger, they just don't give a damn.

Parasites coexist with us in a harmful way, viruses go into a cell and hijack its components to replicate by the millions or billions or trillions, then when their cell-womb dies, the zillions of new viruses do the same thing that the first one did. They're total badass mofos that do not coexist with us in any way at all (unless they are still latent when we die of another cause).

Parasites are complex multicellular organisms, viruses are teeny little things that are not complex at all. They don't have cells, a cell to them is so big that a single cell could be envisioned almost like a small planet to a single virus (bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria, that's how small viruses are). Viruses are just shells of repetitious atoms with DNA or RNA inside.

Some viruses exist that can make DNA out of RNA, even though that breaks one of the fundamental rules of biology. There are lots of reasons why people don't think viruses are alive in the same sense as other chemicals that contain DNA (organisms), there is no question that parasites are alive.

***

After reading the article, I would mainly question why giruses (giant viruses) are classified with viruses instead of having their own classification. Giruses are believed to have either evolved into eukaryotic cells (hahaha, LMFAO. There are a zillion biochemical reasons why that can't be true), or to have originated as de-evolved eukaryotic cells (evolving to small rather than evolving to large - the much more likely explanation). If I was a betting woman, I would guess that these things will be slapped on to the phylogenetic tree on the eukaryotic branch within the next couple of decades.
edit on 16-9-2012 by YoungSoul because: Had to run out the door before I was done writing, so I came back to edit.
edit on 16-9-2012 by YoungSoul because: Errant comma.
edit on 16-9-2012 by YoungSoul because: (no reason given)





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