Evolution

Tag archives for Evolution

“HIV mutates a lot”. People ‘get’ that. Why is HIV hard to stop? Why is HIV hard to treat? “HIV mutates a lot”. But HIV does not mutate willy-nilly. It mutates at an evolutionarily defined rate. The reverse transcriptase enzyme makes mistakes during replication that are beneficial to HIV– creating a diverse population, a quasispecies,…

c0nc0rdance + HIV vs Creationists

Though ERVs are my favorite tool vs Creationists, HIV is a fantastic choice as well. I mean, has anyone seen hide or hair of Behe since 2007? Poor guy. Alas, there are still Creationists out there, so to address some of their ‘concerns’, c0nc0rdance made a couple of vids using his favorite HIV protein, Vpr:

1– Herpes viruses are old. They are ooooooold. Like, hundreds of millions of years old. Specifically, about 400 million years old. 2– Herpes viruses are everywhere. Fish, reptiles, birds, cows, humans, everywhere. And there are lots of different kinds that humans have to deal with– CMV, EBV, HHV-8, VZV, HSV… 3– And, though herpes viruses should…

Via John Wilkins and John Farrell: A Simple Visualization of How Species Evolve This is basically my dissertation, animated. LOL!! What are you looking at? Every pixel in that square is a genetic sequence. Some of those sequences confer a higher fitness advantage (the red colored peaks) or disadvantage (below the plane). The Blue color…

HIV-1s ancestors just got older-er

More HIV news! HIVs ancestor, SIV (simian immunodeficiency virus), has been around a LOT longer than we previously thought. As I have mentioned before, we always assumed retroviruses like HIV, lentiviruses, are evolutionarily ‘young’. They are relatively complex, so probably ‘newish’ in retrovirus-world, but they do not fossilize well (we have found very few lentiviral…

Though this paper (the one I began talking about before a holiday break) is the reason for this post, this post is also an opportunity to address a question I have gotten a lot over the years: Is HIV evolving to be more deadly? The short answer would be: No, it doesnt appear to be.…

Some people have emailed me this story, concerned about the evolution of a ‘recombinant’ HIV virus that makes people progress to AIDS much faster than ‘regular’ HIV. Scientists Find Aggressive New HIV Strain This is the paper they are referring to: Faster Progression to AIDS and AIDS-Related Death Among Seroincident Individuals Infected With Recombinant HIV-1…

Dammit. Transplant recipients not cured of HIV

Bone marrow transplants and HIV. I have been writing about this topic for a long time. Quick recap. 1. Some people with HIV-1 infection subsequently get blood cancers. 2. Sometimes those blood cancers need to be treated with bone marrow transplants. 2a. If the patient gets a transplant from a CCR5 negative donor, its great!…

Neanderthal and Denisovan retroviruses in YOU!

Well, some of you! And maybe me! Last year, scientists combed through Neanderthal and Denisovian DNA sequences (yeah, those exist!) and found fourteen ERVs that were in Neanderthals and/or Denisovians, but NOT humans. Neandertal and Denisovan retroviruses SUMMARY: Modern humans (Homo sapiens) last shared a common ancestor with two types of archaic hominins, Neandertals and…

ERVs, from three perspectives

I love viruses, and I love ERVs, but I am not the only one Here are some links to pieces people have written about these lovely pirates, from three different perspectives. 1– Nicholas Covington at Humes Apprentice (formerly AIG Busted!) is more a philosopher than a scientist, but even as a ‘layman’, he gets what ERVs…