Did someone declare this week ‘cool ERV research week.’ or something?? Yet another awesome ERV paper came out:
The title is pretty non-sexy, but what they found… AAAAH!
Okay, Jaratlerdsiri and company set out to look at ERVs in the order crocodilians. Crocodilians include the families of alligatoridae, crocodylidae, and gavialidae. Nobodys done it. So why not?
Armed with PCR primers for pol, Jaratlerdsiri went digging. Heres what they found:
CERV-1: This group of ERVs werent found in gators or gharials. All of the ones they found were super similar between species, if not identical. Closely related to gammaretroviruses, like lots of ERVs found in other species.
CERV-2: Found in all families. But they appear to be genetically distinct (ie- probably independent insertions). But heres the deal: these sequences arent related to any retrovirus alive today. Nothing. Not even close. Non-rooted tree? CERV-2 are out in BFE:
So CERV-2 isnt just a different species of lentivirus or betaretrovirus, or whatever. CERV-2 must be the fossilized remnants of an extinct genus of retrovirus! We know its a retrovirus, because these guys primers was for the RT region of ERVs. And this genus was ‘robust’ enough to endogenize itself in independent lineages of crocodilians… but it still died off. Like, totally. HOW?? WHY?? AHHHH!
THATS SO GODDAMNED COOOOOOL! AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!