Evolution

Category archives for Evolution

The Thinking Atheist and ERV!

A few weeks ago, The Thinking Atheist was in town– He gave us a sweet preview of the new video hes planning on officially unveiling at the American Atheists convention and  signing copies of his new book “Deconverted“. Beforehand, he set up some camera equipment and did quick impromptu interviews with fellow OK Skeptics Caleb…

I really hate blogging on non-published information, but for the second time in as many weeks, we have had interesting information come out of CROI.  This bit of news isnt as exciting. It pretty much confirms my annoyed Debbie Downer stance on using antiretrovirals in non-infected individuals as a means to prevent HIV infection (thats…

ERMAHGERD! ERVALANCH! ERVs and Placentas

The connection between ERVs and placentas is already well established. Without a shadow of a doubt, the ability of mammals to generate placentas was, in part, accomplished by domesticating an endogenous retroviral env protein.  In humans, we call this protein syncytin, or ERVWE1. This new paper in Nature Genetics takes the ERV-Placenta connection a step…

The story of ‘How we know where HIV-1 came from’ is really cool– A group of researchers went into the jungles of Africa, collected lots of monkey poop, and figured out pretty much the exact colony of chimpanzees that transmitted their SIV into humans, which lead to the HIV epidemic we know today. Those researchers…

Ferrets have a super rare ERV!

Ive always wanted a ferret.  When I was little, because of this (1m59s): Now, because of stuff like this: Ferrets arent just super cool pets, they also have a very rare ‘gift’– While all organisms genomes are littered with pirate DNA and endogenous retroviruses, endogenous lentiviruses have only been found in three creatures: Bunnies, lemurs,…

Paleovirology seems to work the opposite of the way the Creationist want.  The more information we have, the further back the timeline shifts, not vice versa. For example, we used to think HIV-1 started in humans ~1930, but after we found more ‘old’ HIV sequences, the clock got pushed back to 1902-1921. We used to…

ARR! I mean, ERV! I mean, NIRV! Phylogeny, integration and expression of sigma virus-like genes in Drosophila As my blag tagline goes, ‘If we are made in Gods image, God is made of gag, pol, and env’, the components of retroviruses.  Our, and other organisms, genome is inhabited by lots of bits of selfish DNA,…

The Evolutionary Consequences of Blood-Stage Vaccination on the Rodent Malaria Plasmodium chabaudi The concept of vaccination is, superficially, simple– Safely mimic ‘infection’ so your immune system learns how to fight a pathogen, without needing to get sick from the genuine pathogen.  Then if you are ever exposed to the real, scary pathogen, your immune system…

Evolution: Crime Fighting Machine

I know I give physicians crap sometimes on my blag, but I really do appreciate what they–along with nurses, physical and respiratory therapists, and other health professionals– do. They interact with people when they are at their ‘worst’– a normally cheerful, charming person is sick, scared, in pain, frustrated, worried, hurt, angry, drugged up when…

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…