The idea of your DNA.
While the exact sequence of your DNA is entirely specific to you (probably), I’ve always thought that’s it strange that we consider it ours. You should hopefully know that you inherit half of your genetic material from your mother and half from your father, therefore your DNA is really just a mix of the DNA of someone else. In turn their DNA is half and half from their parents (interestingly enough however your DNA is not necessarily a quarter of your grandparent’s DNA, it could in fact be that you are genetically the child of say your grandfather and your mother, it’s unlikely though). So can we really say that we own our DNA? The way I see it is really just that we belong to our genetics rather than the reverse.
By current scientific consensus, viruses aren’t part of the tree of life. But they’re certainly more lifelike than anything else that isn’t life, and they outnumber cellular life. How viruses evolved remains unclear, but we know they’ve been and continue to be a major influence on evolution. According to the RNA world hypothesis, the life we know, which is based on proteins and DNA, was predated by a world based on RNA, DNA’s simpler cousin which is capable not only of storing information, but also of acting like an enzyme. And a new hypothesis, contentious but very interesting, proposes that viruses brought about the modern DNA world:
According to this view, ancient viruses, as with the ones today, could only make copies of themselves by succesfully infecting a host. So they become engines of innovation, using every possible dodge to get their genetic payload inside the host cell. In an early, RNA-protein world, there would not be enzymes to degrade DNA, so a virus encoded by DNA would have a big survival advantage. This suggests a scenario in which a clever parasite brings along DNA plus the means of copying DNA— a different parasite at least for bacteria and archaea/eukaryotes— and hijacks the cell’s existing interpretation equipment. The symbiosis of virus plus RNA/protein cell eventually resulted in the modern arrangement of DNA, RNA and protein.
With this topic it is important to realize that the ideas are very speculative and contentious…
Always thought this. RNA world would be the best amusement park. I’ve often wondered if simple organisms evolved as a result of a need to reproduce by the viruses, it’s pretty far out there as far as theories go, but who knows. The powers of co-evolution are great. Other interesting things are like how certain parts of our own DNA act as viruses, it’s almost like the genetic code for a virus has been incorporated into DNA as a whole. A great example is known as Alu which is I think about 299 nucleotides long, but it repeats to make up most of the human genome. Yay!