Many vertebrate species contain snippets of viral genetic code within their genomes. In fact, estimates are that the human genome itself may be up to 8% viral genes. According to new research published in the journal PLOS Pathogens, however, it's not all from retroviruses, which are known to be able to insert themselves into other genetic sequences. In a computer search over the genomes of many vertebrate species, the researchers found chunks of code from viruses such as Ebola, Marburg, and Borna virus embedded at various locations within the genome. In some cases, the genes seem to ahve been inserted tens of millions of years ago. How did they get there, and what do they do? We'll talk with one of the authors of the paper.
Produced by Charles Bergquist, Director and Contributing Producer