ERVs

Category archives for ERVs

Horse ERVs are junk too

Arnie got to meet horses for the first time last week It was an unexpected event (horsies were out at a neighbors when we went on a walkie), so I didnt get it on film– but I can recreate it: Arnie: HOLY SHIT MOM!  MOOOOOM! MOOOOOOOOOOOM! WHAT ARE THOSE MONSTERS??? OH GOD THEYRE WALKING TOWARDS…

ERVs and Psoriasis

Time to add another disease to the list of problems associated with wayward ERV expression: Protective Effect of Human Endogenous Retrovirus K dUTPase Variants on Psoriasis Susceptibility Repeat after me everyone: ERVs are junk DNA.  We WANT them to be junk DNA.  Yes, very rarely an ERV is domesticated for Good, but almost universally, ERV…

The questions I get asked most often are: How many ERVs are there? How many do we have in common with chimpanzees/gorillas/orangutans/etc? Its hard to answer this.  Depends on what your definition of ‘ERV’ is.  Because sometimes scientists mean a complete/nearly complete ERV (LTR-gag, pol, env-LTR), and sometimes they mean either LTR, Gag, Pol, or…

If you are reading this blog, you already know all about how a huge portion of your genome is parasitic junk DNA (~40-45%), a fraction of which is retroviral junk (ERVs, ~9%).  If youre new here… SURPRISE! Sure, we have a gene here, a promoter there (maybe) that was domesticated for human genome use, but…

Carl Zimmer is, hands down, one of the best science writers out there.  Its no surprise, then, that he is almost as obsessed with viruses as I am.  Viruses are our past and our future, and Zimmer *gets* it. So while I am busy in the lab this week, I will happily point you to…

The human genome is about 3.1 billion nucleotides long. 8-10% of your genome is retroviral-ish. We will be conservative and go with 8%– thats 248,000,000 nucleotides of retrovirus. The average retrovirus is about 10,000 nucleotides long. So we should have ~ 24,800 retroviral elements in our genome. But there must be more than that, because…

ERVs and Multiple Sclerosis, #4

I wasnt super thrilled about the last ERV–>MS paper I wrote about, but I really like this new one: Human endogenous retrovirus type W envelope expression in blood and brain cells provides new insights into multiple sclerosis disease. Those of you who have been following the XMRV fiasco will find this intro paragraph very interesting:…

On what day did EVE create the insects?

Its not so hard to get your head around endogenous retroviruses once you get the gist of them. RNA virus turns itself into DNA, inserts itself into your genome, makes babby viruses. Sometimes the RNA virus infects an egg/sperm, turns itself into DNA, inserts itself into the genome, and that egg/sperm goes on to create…

Common everybody! Sing the chorus with me, you know the words! The vast, vast majority of ERVs are junk. They are genomic pirates, and your genome is doing the best it can to keep them silent. When ERVs are making noise, its a sign that something has gone wrong. Very, very wrong. Like, for example,…

ERVs and Multiple Sclerosis, #3

ERVs and Multiple Sclerosis ERVs and Multiple Sclerosis, #2 Hmmm… This new paper on the association between ‘active’ ERVs and Multiple Sclerosis is a step back, and a step forward, at the same time: Expression of HERV-Fc1, a human endogenous retrovirus, is increased in patients with active Multiple Sclerosis. If you go back and read…