retroviruses; mammals

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Wed Sep 29 22:14:50 CDT 1999

At 12:09 PM 9/30/99 +1100, Eric Zurcher wrote:
>Here's a bit of additional grist for the mill. The following is an
>of a paper by Luis Villarreal of UC Irvine, presented at the recent
>International Congress of Virology in Sydney:
>which supports the provocative thesis that persisting viruses may have
>provided the origin of replication proteins of all eukaryotes

Or vice-versa. Maybe eukaryotes provided replication proteins to viruses.
If the author's character polarity is correct, there is still the question
of where the viruses got it.

If we assume that viruses have histories, and if we assume, whether we call
them "life" or not, that they have their origins in living organisms rather
than directly from nonliving systems, then every part of a virus has a
lineage. It is quite likely that all the parts of a virus don't share the
same lineage (after all, our nuclei and mitochondria share the same lineage
only "recently"), and I'm willing to accept that there may not be enough
information left in most viruses to reconstruct their histories. But they
are interesting, possibly important phylogenetically, and worth looking at
with as few preconceptions as possible.
Curtis Clark        
Biological Sciences Department             Voice: (909) 869-4062
California State Polytechnic University      FAX: (909) 869-4078
Pomona CA 91768-4032  USA                  jcclark at

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