article biology

Why are evolutionary biologists bringing back extinct deadly viruses

I just finished reading the wonderful New Yorker article¬†Darwin’s Surprise by Michael Specter. This is some of the most interesting reading around (at least in my opinion).

I should have been a biologist.

Nothing provides more convincing evidence for the “theory” of evolution than the viruses contained within our DNA. Until recently, the earliest available information about the history and the course of human diseases, like smallpox and typhus, came from mummies no more than four thousand years old. Evolution cannot be measured in a time span that short. Endogenous retroviruses provide a trail of molecular bread crumbs leading millions of years into the past.

And that trail appears to lead to the very roots of human existence and possibly to a cure for HIV/AIDS.

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