Ancient virus could be the reason humans can think

Recent research reveals that an ancient virus is likely to have been responsible for giving birth to the ability of consciousness that allows humans to think and analyse situations.

Researchers suggest that there is a strong link between a human gene that is responsible for our conscious though processes and a virus that broke out during the earliest days of human emergence on this planet.

The Cell journal published two researchers that shed light on the origination of the Arc gene, which is responsible for accumulating al our genetic information and dispatching it off in little virus-like capsules throughout the nerve cells. These tiny capsules of genetic information are extremely essential as they determine how effectively our nerves can communicate, along with controlling several of our thought processes.

Genetics and Health

Elissa D. Pastuzyn, the author of these genetic researches shares,

“Evolutionary analysis indicates that Arc is derived from a vertebrate lineage of Ty3/gypsy retrotransposons, which are also ancestors to retroviruses.”

These studies highlight that nearly 80-40% of human genome was developed by the progression and presence of certain ancient viruses. These viruses are very different from bacteria, which just resides within the body, for these ancient viruses are capable of producing active changes within the cells by injecting their own genetic codes.

In most cases, these viruses and their genetic codes tend to be utterly useless but in other cases, they often cause harm, along with the reproduction of even more viruses, but research also highlights that in several cases they leave human beings with several useful changes and modifications in their body.

It appears that an ancient virus has been the cause of the development of the human cognitive abilities and thought processes, which are all attributed to the Arc gene. Elissa D. Pastuzyn believes that this viruses had been “repurposed during evolution, to mediate intercellular communication in the nervous system.”

According to James Ashley, another esteemed author of these studies reveals that,

“The neuronal gene Arc is essential for long-lasting information storage in the mammalian brain, mediates various forms of synaptic plasticity and has been implicated in neurodevelopmental disorders.”

He also suggested that all mutations within the Arc gene has been directly associated with the development of “autism and schizophrenia”, which further validates the claim that the Arc gene plays an instrumental and vital role in our abilities of perception, cognition and reaction towards our surroundings.

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