Traces of genetic material from non-retroviruses have unexpectedly turned up in the genomes of several mammal species, including humans.
Image: National Human Genome
Research Institute
Researchers linkurl:report; in this week's issue of __Nature__ that bornaviruses, a group of negative sense RNA viruses, integrated into the DNA of humans and other primates, rodents, and elephants millions of years ago. These snippets represent a source of additional mutation in the mammal genomes they inhabit and a potential source of genomic innovation, the authors suggest. The researchers have "found an unforeseen source of mutation that not many people had thought about before," said C?dric Feschotte, a genomicist at the University of Texas, Arlington, who was not involved with the study. While about eight percent of human DNA is derived from retroviruses that invaded the genome of our ancient ancestors, this is the first evidence of a non-retrovirus stably incorporating its genetic material...

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