Ancient viruses manipulate stem cells - scientists

Viruses are an integral part of life on earth. Viruses live and multiply within the cells of living organisms. To do this, they must incorporate their genetic code into the DNA of cells, after which it will begin to produce new viruses or perform abnormal function. Information published in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

Especially interesting is the process of infection of germ cells. Then the viral DNA can be transmitted to the following generation. Useful information such DNA segments do not assume, however, that "junk" DNA can be up to 8% of the total information is concentrated in the genes.

Scientists from the Agency for science, technology and research of Singapore found that endogenous retrovirus subfamily H, HERV-H have abnormal activity in stem cells of a human embryo. Previously it was difficult to assume that the virus determines the ability of some cells to differentiation.

It is proved that the pluripotent stem cell capable of developing into any adult cell from the skin cells to brain cells. The human genome contains about one thousand copies of the virus. Scientists have found HERV-H in monkeys. In other animals it is not, and therefore that the theory of evolution Darwin was confirmed once again.

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