I guess Im going to have to change the name of ‘ERV’.
Now, ERVs are officially not so special at all.
Viruses, all kinds of viruses, are all over the place in genomes– from insects to humans.
Carl Zimmers take: Your inner viruses: the trickle becomes the flood
My quick-and-dirty take:
Every form of virus– retrovirus, ssRNA(-), ssRNA(+), dsRAN, dsDNA, ssDNA– every form of virus has an endogenous component now.
Theyre all over the place. Every organism has these ‘alternative’ endogenous viruses. Theyre inserted all over the organisms genomes (random).
They are junk. The authors do note that they might have previously/initially had a beneficial function, but there is no experimental evidence to support that. And, some viral genes might transcribe RNA (a few of these guys might), but there is currently no experimental evidence those transcripts are translated or used, and are not just transcriptional noise. But the vast, vast majority of these endogenous non-retroviruses are mutated beyond repair.
These are incredible, unexpected fossils that will help us understand the evolution of viruses in a way we never thought would be possible.