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Old virus would be responsible for the human ability to think

It is believed that between 40 and 80 percent of the human genome was developed thanks to the old viruses. In contrast to bacteria, which live just in the body, viruses, active changes in your cells, inject their own genetic code.

(REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)

An old virus would be responsible for the human consciousness, giving you the ability to think for yourself.

New research has linked a human gene that is responsible for the conscious thought to a virus that was spread in the early days of mankind.

 

Two articles published in the Cell journal discuss the origins of the Arc gene, which packages the genetic information and sends it around the nerve cells into little virus-style capsules.

These packets of information are critical to how our nerves communicate and can be responsible for our thoughts.

 

Elissa D. Pastuzyn, who authored one of the studies, said: “Evolutionary analysis indicates that the Arc is derived from a vertebrate lineage of Ty3/gypsy retrotransposons, which are also ancestors to retroviruses.”

It is assumed that between 40 percent and 80 percent of the human genome was developed thanks to the old viruses.

In contrast to bacteria, which live just in the body, viruses, active changes in your cells, inject their own genetic code.

This can often be completely useless, and sometimes even damage caused, inter alia, by the reproduction of more viruses – but occasionally we end up with useful modifications.

And it seems to be an old virus may have given rise to all human thought — with thanks to the Arc-gen.

Pastuzyn says that the virus is “reused during the evolution, to mediate intercellular communication in the nervous system.”

James Ashley, who was the author of one of the studies, said: “The neuronal gene Arc is essential for the long-term storage of information in the brain of mammals, mediates various forms of synaptic plasticity, and is involved in neurological disorders.”

He adds that mutations in the gene are “linked to autism and schizophrenia,” which suggests that the Arc has a central role to play in how we perceive and react to the world around us.

This story originally appeared in The Sun.

 

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