This is a repost from the old ERV. A retrotransposed ERV 😛 I dont trust them staying up at Blogger, and the SEED overlords are letting me have 4 reposts a week, so Im gonna take advantage of that!
I am going to try to add more comments to these posts for the old readers– Think of these as ‘directors cut’ posts 😉
Gimme a sec. Youll see why Im reposting this. *melts with embarrassment*
Me: “OMG! My boyfriend published another paper!!”
Bossman: “Ugh. Do you have any idea how old he is?”
Me: “Our love, it is forbidden.”
My virus boyfriend Patrick Forterre is still fighting the good fight for viruses:
Why the hell arent the most abundant creatures on the planet included in the tree of life??
We arent slack-jawed TARD Creationists pointing at a Panda Bear slurring “Dat der is a BEAR kiiiind.” We use genetics to establish phylogenetic trees, ergo, who is related to whom. Why do we point to viruses and drool “It aint ALIVE! It caint go in deh tree!”
It doesnt make any sense. Like having a ribosome imparts an organism with a ‘soul’ that allows it to be considered ‘alive’ and included in Earths evolutionary tree of life.
But that is the stickler for including viruses in the tree. Usually its the ribosomal sequence thats used to compare amoebas to oak trees. And viruses dont have them. Viruses really dont have anything in common with cells (so much for the “But viruses r just de-evolved CELLS!!” hypothesis) so how can we attach them to the Tree?
Forterre suggests that we just use the protein that all viruses have in common, capsid, to create a mirror tree. Like a reflection in a graveyard pond, a Tree of Undead Viruses.
Its a start. But I do not like. I dont see the viral world evolving like a mirror Tree of Life with viruses evolving with their hosts in an alternate dimension. I see The Tree of Life and the Tree of Undead Viruses hopelessly intertwined– in the same dimension– we can detect where we got protein A and protein B from viruses and where bactereophages stole protein C and protein D from their hosts or one another. I dont think Forterre would suggest that the trees are isolated, as it appeared in a diagram in this paper, but that is going to be the outcome if you compare Ribosomal Encoding Organisms to Capsid Encoding Organisms.
It is a start 🙂