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The Case for Common Descent from ERVs: A tutorial for MarkE

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  • The Case for Common Descent from ERVs: A tutorial for MarkE

    Thank you for responding to this offer of mine, Mark.

    Originally posted by marke
    Originally posted by User55
    I've an idea, Mark. Let's go through the evidence and reasoning simply, step by step, so that you can understand it. I used to be a teacher. I think I'm good at helping people understand things. We can do it in the debate section where nobody can interrupt or distract us. Then you will be in a good position to criticize the case for common descent if you still think you need to. How about it?
    Go ahead. You start and I'll follow.
    There are a number of components to the case for common descent from ERVs (endogenous retroviruses). None of them are particularly difficult to understand, but they must all be clearly understood, because they all hang together in the case for common descent. Please feel free to ask questions and express your doubts as we go along, but please restrict your questions to the relevant component until we have covered them all and we are ready to put them together.

    So let's start with what a retrovirus (a virus like HIV) actually is. Would you like me to describe its relevant characteristics or are you au fait with them?
    Last edited by User55; 05-30-13, 11:21 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by User55 View Post
    Thank you for responding to this offer of mine, Mark.
    There are a number of components to the case for common descent from ERVs (endogenous retroviruses). None of them are particularly difficult to understand, but they must all be clearly understood, because they all hang together in the case for common descent. Please feel free to ask questions and express your doubts as we go along, but please restrict your questions to the relevant component until we have covered them all and we are ready to put them together.

    So let's start with what a retrovirus (a virus like HIV) actually is. Would you like me to describe it's relevant characteristics or are you au fait with them?
    From what I have read researchers originally speculated that ERVs were nothing more than remnants of ancient retroviral infections whose purpose had long since expired. More recent discoveries began connecting ERVs to positive cell developments which was not consistent with former "junk DNA" suppositions. There doesn't seem to be a known mechanism for changing the function of 'junk genes' to ones with coding and essential functions in cell development.

    There is much more, but let's start slow and see how we can best deal with varying interpretations of scientific evidences.
    I am not a NPB-Onlyist (No Perfect Bible Onlyist), nor a NA/UBS-Onlyist. Marke

    If this book be not infallible, where shall we find infallibility? We have given up the Pope, for he has blundered often and terribly; but we shall not set up instead of him a horde of little popelings fresh from college. C. H. Spurgeon

    For that Revised Version I have but little care as a general rule, holding it to be by no means an improvement upon our common Authorized Version. C.H. Spurgeon

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by marke View Post
      From what I have read researchers originally speculated that ERVs were nothing more than remnants of ancient retroviral infections whose purpose had long since expired. More recent discoveries began connecting ERVs to positive cell developments which was not consistent with former "junk DNA" suppositions. There doesn't seem to be a known mechanism for changing the function of 'junk genes' to ones with coding and essential functions in cell development.

      There is much more, but let's start slow and see how we can best deal with varying interpretations of scientific evidences.
      I asked you, "Would you like me to describe its [a retrovirus'] relevant characteristics or are you au fait with them?"

      Don't be afraid to ask dumb questions. That's how we all learn, but do take it step by step, as I asked in the OP, and you asked for originally.

      You may answer the question with a simple "yes" or "no" if you like.
      Last edited by User55; 05-30-13, 12:13 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by marke View Post
        From what I have read researchers originally speculated that ERVs were nothing more than remnants of ancient retroviral infections whose purpose had long since expired. More recent discoveries began connecting ERVs to positive cell developments which was not consistent with former "junk DNA" suppositions. There doesn't seem to be a known mechanism for changing the function of 'junk genes' to ones with coding and essential functions in cell development.

        There is much more, but let's start slow and see how we can best deal with varying interpretations of scientific evidences.
        Retroviruses reproduce by utilising host cell machinery. They have to attach to the host cell, (this requires a protein called env for environment) and insert an RNA and protein enzyme payload into the cell. Once inside, a viral enzyme called reverse transcriptase uses the cell's resources to maks a DNA version of the retroviruses RNA, which represents the entire genome of the virus. Another viral enzyme, integrase, snips the host cell's DNA and inserts the viral DNA (which we call the provirus) and joins it all up again. This leaves a telltale repetition of original host DNA either side of the insertion site.

        The host then innocentlt "reads" this DNA, resulting in teh production of components for new viruses, which assemble and leave the cell to infect yet more cells.

        Important to note:

        Integrase does not target specific sites in teh host DNA. It can insert (integrate, in the jargon) in a vast number of different locations.
        Integrase leaves a telltale repetition of original host DNA either side of the integration site.
        Reverse transcription is an error-prone process. There is no error detection and correction.
        Retroviruses do not infect all cells of the host. They usually specialise in certain types of cells. Their env protein is specialized.

        Any questions about retroviruses? (Please, not about ERVs, God or President Obama etc.)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by User55 View Post
          I asked you, "Would you like me to describe its [a retrovirus'] relevant characteristics or are you au fait with them?"
          Did you read my last response? In answer to your question, however, no, I am not interested in devoting an excessive amount of energy into deeply learning about what evolutionists think proves evolution in studies in microbiology. If they cannot demonstrate that their assumptions and biased experimentation with questionable interpretations clearly refute God, then why should I waste my time? I am forced in my situation to deal with many issues in many fields of science and do not have the need or inclination nor ability to become expert in just one field.

          Don't be afraid to ask dumb questions. That's how we all learn, but do take it step by step, as I asked in the OP, and you asked for originally.
          Nobody has to ask questions to prove they are ignorant about much more than they are somewhat knowledgeable about. William Hazlitt said,

          [SIZE=3]Anyone who has passed through the regular gradations of a classical education, and is not made a fool by it, may consider himself as having had a very narrow escape.[/SIZE]

          You may answer the question with a simple "yes" or "no" if you like.
          No. I like it.
          I am not a NPB-Onlyist (No Perfect Bible Onlyist), nor a NA/UBS-Onlyist. Marke

          If this book be not infallible, where shall we find infallibility? We have given up the Pope, for he has blundered often and terribly; but we shall not set up instead of him a horde of little popelings fresh from college. C. H. Spurgeon

          For that Revised Version I have but little care as a general rule, holding it to be by no means an improvement upon our common Authorized Version. C.H. Spurgeon

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by User55 View Post
            Retroviruses reproduce by utilising host cell machinery. They have to attach to the host cell, (this requires a protein called env for environment) and insert an RNA and protein enzyme payload into the cell. Once inside, a viral enzyme called reverse transcriptase uses the cell's resources to maks a DNA version of the retroviruses RNA, which represents the entire genome of the virus. Another viral enzyme, integrase, snips the host cell's DNA and inserts the viral DNA (which we call the provirus) and joins it all up again. This leaves a telltale repetition of original host DNA either side of the insertion site.
            OK, I admit I have read this already. My question is how researchers can clearly demonstrate that ERVs were formed in that manner and how ERVs can be clearly demonstrated to have not been the result of the ID creation of God.

            The host then innocentlt "reads" this DNA, resulting in teh production of components for new viruses, which assemble and leave the cell to infect yet more cells.
            Important to note:
            Integrase does not target specific sites in teh host DNA. It can insert (integrate, in the jargon) in a vast number of different locations.
            I still fail to see convincing arguments that ERVs were not designed by the ID of God's creation to "target" specific sites, especially since preliminary studies in ERVs in mice have already revealed at least one ERV similarity in the same loci in mice and men.

            Integrase leaves a telltale repetition of original host DNA either side of the integration site.
            Reverse transcription is an error-prone process. There is no error detection and correction.
            Retroviruses do not infect all cells of the host. They usually specialise in certain types of cells. Their env protein is specialized.
            Understanding ERVs has also proven to be an error-prone process, judging from what I have read in science journals. How do the speculating secularists explain the miraculous transformation of junk genes or dead retroviral remnants into fully functional essential aids to cell development. I understand the absence of at least one functioning ERV in particular in mice would be fatal to them.

            Any questions about retroviruses? (Please, not about ERVs, God or President Obama etc.)
            No, I'm good.
            I am not a NPB-Onlyist (No Perfect Bible Onlyist), nor a NA/UBS-Onlyist. Marke

            If this book be not infallible, where shall we find infallibility? We have given up the Pope, for he has blundered often and terribly; but we shall not set up instead of him a horde of little popelings fresh from college. C. H. Spurgeon

            For that Revised Version I have but little care as a general rule, holding it to be by no means an improvement upon our common Authorized Version. C.H. Spurgeon

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by marke View Post
              Did you read my last response? In answer to your question, however, no, I am not interested in devoting an excessive amount of energy into deeply learning about what evolutionists think proves evolution in studies in microbiology. If they cannot demonstrate that their assumptions and biased experimentation with questionable interpretations clearly refute God, then why should I waste my time? I am forced in my situation to deal with many issues in many fields of science and do not have the need or inclination nor ability to become expert in just one field.



              Nobody has to ask questions to prove they are ignorant about much more than they are somewhat knowledgeable about. William Hazlitt said,

              [SIZE=3]Anyone who has passed through the regular gradations of a classical education, and is not made a fool by it, may consider himself as having had a very narrow escape.[/SIZE]



              No. I like it.
              Yes, I read your response. It did not answer my question. But you did say, "let's start slow and see how we can best deal with varying interpretations of scientific evidences."

              I took that to mean you wanted to continue step by step, so I presented you with the salient facts about retroviruses - nothing about evolution. Now you say you are not interested, and start burbling about "refuting" God. Do I understand you to mean you are not interested in anything but attempts to "refute God". If that is so, you should ask the atheists in the Atheism forum.

              However, if you do wish to question or critique the case for common descent from endogenous retroviruses, you cannot do it without understanding what that case is. EvolutionaryModel has presented it to you one way, and I, at your request, am presenting it another way.

              So please make up your mind, Mark. Are you interested in critiquing the case from ERVs, in which case you need to continue studying it, or are you interested in engaging in the pointless, never resolved for millennia arguments about the existential status of God, in which case you must cease spamming threads about ERVs? Please let me know.
              Last edited by User55; 05-31-13, 06:11 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by User55 View Post
                Yes, I read your response. It did not answer my question. But you did say, "let's start slow and see how we can best deal with varying interpretations of scientific evidences."

                I took that to mean you wanted to continue step by step, so I presented you with the salient facts about retroviruses - nothing about evolution. Now you say you are not interested, and start burbling about "refuting" God. Do I understand you to mean you are not interested in anything but attempts to "refute God". If that is so, you should ask the atheists in the Atheism forum.
                I say again, I am not interested in sitting in a class where you are the only one teaching and I am to be the one who only listens. Can you understand what I am saying? I am interested in improving in understanding, but it must be done properly, reasonably, and within un-removable constraints. Here is something to think about, from Isaac Asimov:

                [SIZE=4]Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.[/SIZE]

                I'm seeing more and more the tragedy of those who imagine they know 'everything' and so refuse to even consider things from others who they falsely imagine know 'nothing.' Bertrand Russell once said,

                [SIZE=4]We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has become one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought.[/SIZE]
                I am not a NPB-Onlyist (No Perfect Bible Onlyist), nor a NA/UBS-Onlyist. Marke

                If this book be not infallible, where shall we find infallibility? We have given up the Pope, for he has blundered often and terribly; but we shall not set up instead of him a horde of little popelings fresh from college. C. H. Spurgeon

                For that Revised Version I have but little care as a general rule, holding it to be by no means an improvement upon our common Authorized Version. C.H. Spurgeon

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by marke View Post
                  OK, I admit I have read this already. My question is how researchers can clearly demonstrate that ERVs were formed in that manner and how ERVs can be clearly demonstrated to have not been the result of the ID creation of God.
                  We haven't got there yet. I did ask, please, no questions about ERVs, God or President Obama etc. At least not yet.
                  I still fail to see convincing arguments that ERVs were not designed by the ID of God's creation to "target" specific sites, especially since preliminary studies in ERVs in mice have already revealed at least one ERV similarity in the same loci in mice and men.
                  We haven't got there yet. I did ask, please, no questions about ERVs, God or President Obama etc. At least not yet.
                  Understanding ERVs has also proven to be an error-prone process, judging from what I have read in science journals. How do the speculating secularists explain the miraculous transformation of junk genes or dead retroviral remnants into fully functional essential aids to cell development. I understand the absence of at least one functioning ERV in particular in mice would be fatal to them.
                  We haven't got there yet. I did ask, please, no questions about ERVs, God or President Obama etc. At least not yet.
                  No, I'm good.[Re. retroviruses]
                  OK.

                  Oh, there was one other feature of proviruses that I forgot to mention - codon bias. You know that triplets of DNA base-pairs (codons) cause the production of different amino-acids, and those amino acids can be produced by alternative codons? Well, it turns out that viruses tend to favour one set of codons for their amino-acids, wheres the host often tends to favour a different set of codons. This is another feature which is helpful for identifying retroviral DNA.

                  OK, we can now, at last, get on to ERVs. Here is a comparison of proviruses and ERVs.
                  • A provirus is bracketed by a telltale repetition of original host DNA either side of the integration site. ERVs are too.
                  • A provirus consists of distinct sections, (LTR-gag-pol-env-LTR). These contain genes for retroviral enzymes, particularly, reverse transcriptase and integrase, among others. These are essential for the retroviral reproductive cycle, but have no other known function. ERVs have the same detailed structre, coding for the same retroviral enzymes.
                  • Proviruses target particular types of cells in their hosts, but do not integrate with the DNA of all such cells. ERVs appear in every nuclear cell of the body.
                  • Proviruses become integrated at a vast number of different locations in the DNA of the cells of they invade. ERVs appear in exactly the same spot in the DNA of every cell
                  • Proviruses exhibit a viral codon bias. So do ERVs.

                  Another nugget. ERVs have been taken from DNA and used to reconstruct a working retrovirus!

                  OK, Mark. We are nearly ready to look at your issues about mice and intelligent designers, but first of all, do you have any questions about what I have just presented? Do you need anything to be better explained?
                  Last edited by User55; 05-31-13, 06:59 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by marke View Post
                    I say again, I am not interested in sitting in a class where you are the only one teaching and I am to be the one who only listens. Can you understand what I am saying? I am interested in improving in understanding, but it must be done properly, reasonably, and within un-removable constraints. Here is something to think about, from Isaac Asimov:

                    [SIZE=4]Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.[/SIZE]

                    I'm seeing more and more the tragedy of those who imagine they know 'everything' and so refuse to even consider things from others who they falsely imagine know 'nothing.' Bertrand Russell once said,

                    [SIZE=4]We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has become one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought.[/SIZE]
                    The exercise is for you to get up to speed with the case for common descent from ERVs. You do not have to agree with it, but if you wish to critique it, you have to be reasonably familiar with it. You cannot do that by not listening. You will have your chance to put your objections, but for the moment, please restrict yourself to questions you need answers to in order to understand the case. Thank you.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by User55 View Post
                      The exercise is for you to get up to speed with the case for common descent from ERVs. You do not have to agree with it, but if you wish to critique it, you have to be reasonably familiar with it. You cannot do that by not listening. You will have your chance to put your objections, but for the moment, please restrict yourself to questions you need answers to in order to understand the case. Thank you.
                      I've been through indoctrination sessions before with professors and the like who liked to talk but not listen. I am very much into interactive learning. Evolutionists say something I don't agree with and I question them and they respond with what they know which might possibly straighten me out. We seem to be drifting here into another shipping lane where you do all the teaching and expect me to listen quietly with unwavering silent acceptance of your pedantic recitations from the evolutionist fairytale storybook.

                      I am not yet fully on board with this. Have you yet discovered the possible existence of your unanswered questions embedded in my previous posts?
                      I am not a NPB-Onlyist (No Perfect Bible Onlyist), nor a NA/UBS-Onlyist. Marke

                      If this book be not infallible, where shall we find infallibility? We have given up the Pope, for he has blundered often and terribly; but we shall not set up instead of him a horde of little popelings fresh from college. C. H. Spurgeon

                      For that Revised Version I have but little care as a general rule, holding it to be by no means an improvement upon our common Authorized Version. C.H. Spurgeon

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by marke View Post
                        I've been through indoctrination sessions before with professors and the like who liked to talk but not listen. I am very much into interactive learning. Evolutionists say something I don't agree with and I question them and they respond with what they know which might possibly straighten me out. We seem to be drifting here into another shipping lane where you do all the teaching and expect me to listen quietly with unwavering silent acceptance of your pedantic recitations from the evolutionist fairytale storybook.

                        I am not yet fully on board with this. Have you yet discovered the possible existence of your unanswered questions embedded in my previous posts?
                        Mark, you said you wanted to got through this step by step. I am holding you to your word. I have invited you to ask questions about what I have presented you with so far, but I don't want the tutorial to veer off prematurely. You will get the chance to ask more open-ended questions once I am happy you have understood the endogenization hypothesis well enough such that you will be able to understand my answers to your questions. Is there anything I have told you so far that you want me to explain in more detail? Is there anything I have told you so far that you regard as "fairytale"? If so, what, and why? Please answer this post, http://forums.carm.org/vbb/showthrea...04#post4371304

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by User55 View Post
                          We haven't got there yet. I did ask, please, no questions about ERVs, God or President Obama etc. At least not yet.

                          We haven't got there yet. I did ask, please, no questions about ERVs, God or President Obama etc. At least not yet.

                          We haven't got there yet. I did ask, please, no questions about ERVs, God or President Obama etc. At least not yet.

                          OK.

                          Oh, there was one other feature of proviruses that I forgot to mention - codon bias. You know that triplets of DNA base-pairs (codons) cause the production of different amino-acids, and those amino acids can be produced by alternative codons? Well, it turns out that viruses tend to favour one set of codons for their amino-acids, wheres the host often tends to favour a different set of codons. This is another feature which is helpful for identifying retroviral DNA.

                          OK, we can now, at last, get on to ERVs. Here is a comparison of proviruses and ERVs.
                          • A provirus is bracketed by a telltale repetition of original host DNA either side of the integration site. ERVs are too.
                          • A provirus consists of distinct sections, (LTR-gag-pol-env-LTR). These contain genes for retroviral enzymes, particularly, reverse transcriptase and integrase, among others. These are essential for the retroviral reproductive cycle, but have no other known function. ERVs have the same detailed structre, coding for the same retroviral enzymes.
                          • Proviruses target particular types of cells in their hosts, but do not integrate with the DNA of all such cells. ERVs appear in every nuclear cell of the body.
                          • Proviruses become integrated at a vast number of different locations in the DNA of the cells of they invade. ERVs appear in exactly the same spot in the DNA of every cell
                          • Proviruses exhibit a viral codon bias. So do ERVs.

                          Another nugget. ERVs have been taken from DNA and used to reconstruct a working retrovirus!

                          OK, Mark. We are nearly ready to look at your issues about mice and intelligent designers, but first of all, do you have any questions about what I have just presented? Do you need anything to be better explained?
                          Mark, you replied,
                          Originally posted by marke
                          While I find discussions of the production of amino acids fascinating, I still find in-depth studies a bit over the top for me since I am much too busy to focus only on one very small point in the vast ocean of science. Why don't we simplify? I believe amino acids are created by God, no matter how He did it, and that scientific evidence does little to support theories to the contrary. In support of my view, let me offer up this for your scientific rebuttal:

                          [SIZE=3]"The fundamental objection to all those [evolutionary] theories is that they involve raising oneself by one's own bootstraps. You cannot make proteins without DNA, but you cannot make DNA without enzymes, which are proteins. It is a chicken and egg situation. That a suitable enzyme should have cropped up by chance, even in a long period, is implausible, considering the complexity of such molecules. And there cannot have been a long time [in which to do it]." - *G.R. Taylor, Great Evolution Mystery (1983), p. 201.[/SIZE]
                          Amino acids are not too difficult to understand. They are small chemical sub-units that string together to make proteins, including enzymes. See http://wikids-life.wikispaces.com/Li...tion.+Proteins and follow the "More" controls. Whether or not God designed them is irrelevant to the endogenization hypothesis (that ERVs are inherited remnants of retroviral integrations.) The codon bias point is simply that that there are different codons (strings of three DNA base-pairs) that produce the same amino acids, which then get put together to make proteins. Viruses tend to favour some of those codons, whereas their hosts tend to favour others. It's just one more point of comparison between direct (exogenous) retroviral integrations (proviruses) and ERVs.

                          Your second paragraph is irrelevant to the endogenization hypothesis. However the DNA+protein(+RNA) system came about, proviruses have their characteristics, and ERVs have theirs. What we need to do now is to consider what those similatities and differences mean, and how they can be most sensibly explained.

                          I'll presume you are now happy with what I have presented so far, and I'll move the tutorial on as soon as I have the opportunity to post again.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Right. A quick recap,
                            Originally posted by User55 View Post
                            Here is a comparison of proviruses and ERVs.
                            • A provirus is bracketed by a telltale repetition of original host DNA either side of the integration site. ERVs are too.
                            • A provirus consists of distinct sections, (LTR-gag-pol-env-LTR). These contain genes for retroviral enzymes, particularly, reverse transcriptase and integrase, among others. These are essential for the retroviral reproductive cycle, but have no other known function. ERVs have the same detailed structre, coding for the same retroviral enzymes.
                            • Proviruses target particular types of cells in their hosts, but do not integrate with the DNA of all such cells. ERVs appear in every nuclear cell of the body.
                            • Proviruses become integrated at a vast number of different locations in the DNA of the cells of they invade. ERVs appear in exactly the same spot in the DNA of every cell
                            • Proviruses exhibit a viral codon bias. So do ERVs.

                            Another nugget. ERVs have been taken from DNA and used to reconstruct a working retrovirus!
                            So while proviruses and ERVs are virtually identical in their structures and integration signatures, the difference between proviruses and ERVs is that proviruses are found in a subset of particular types of cells, in different locations going from cell to cell, whereas ERVs are to be found in every cell that has a nucleus, in exactly the same spot in the DNA of every cell.

                            I know you will want to say that another difference is that some parts of some ERVs have a function, or an effect, but I want to deal with that later. I promise I will.

                            Now think about this: Every life starts out with a single cell, with a single set of chromosomes made of DNA. By the process of cell division, which features mitosis, the duplication of the chromosomes, "daugther" cells are produced, and they produce daughter cells in turn, each one having identical DNA*. ERVs have to be inherited from the DNA of that single original cell. They cannot be the result of retroviruses infecting each cell separately. Remember, retroviruses target specific types of cells, but do not infect all of them, and when they integrate their DNA, it is pretty well anywhere, differing in location from infected cell to infected cell. ERVs appear in every cell, always at the same location in the cell's DNA.

                            So whether ERVs are designed into our genomes or not, the ERVs in our cells are copies of the ERVs that were already present in the DNA of the single cell we started life as. If you disagree with this conclusion, or if there is something about the above that you do not understand, please pipe up. Otherwise, I will give you a while to take it in, then I will continue.

                            * To be pedantic, although in an ideal world, cell division starts out by producing a population of cells with identical DNA, copy errors can creep in. DNA can get damaged by noxious stimuli, and, of course, retroviruses can inject their own DNA into the cell's DNA. The cells in the body may begin to diverge, but the divergences are small, can be explained by the factors just described.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I've placed this post in the thread unconventionally, so we don't run off to far on the right. I'm continuing from this post, where we have established that ERVs are inherited.
                              Originally posted by User55 View Post
                              Now think about this: Every life starts out with a single cell, with a single set of chromosomes made of DNA. By the process of cell division, which features mitosis, the duplication of the chromosomes, "daugther" cells are produced, and they produce daughter cells in turn, each one having identical DNA*. ERVs have to be inherited from the DNA of that single original cell. They cannot be the result of retroviruses infecting each cell separately. Remember, retroviruses target specific types of cells, but do not infect all of them, and when they integrate their DNA, it is pretty well anywhere, differing in location from infected cell to infected cell. ERVs appear in every cell, always at the same location in the cell's DNA.

                              So whether ERVs are designed into our genomes or not, the ERVs in our cells are copies of the ERVs that were already present in the DNA of the single cell we started life as. If you disagree with this conclusion, or if there is something about the above that you do not understand, please pipe up. Otherwise, I will give you a while to take it in, then I will continue.

                              * To be pedantic, although in an ideal world, cell division starts out by producing a population of cells with identical DNA, copy errors can creep in. DNA can get damaged by noxious stimuli, and, of course, retroviruses can inject their own DNA into the cell's DNA. The cells in the body may begin to diverge, but the divergences are small, can be explained by the factors just described.
                              OK. If ERVs are inherited, there are only two ways in which they came to be in our genomes.

                              1) Retroviruses infected host gametes (egg or sperm cells) or zygotes (the initial single cell resulting from the fusion of an egg and a sperm cell). (The retroviruses themselves may or may not have been designed by some human or non-human intelligence.)
                              Or
                              2) They were put in our genomes by some human or non-human intelligence by some unknown technique.

                              The fact that species that science regards as being closely related share most or their ERVs, in corresponding locations, means that if we accept explanation 1) then ERVs are a clincher for common descent. Retroviruses infected cells ancestral to both species, therefore the two species had common ancestors.

                              If explanation 2) is true, then we need to find evidence for it, and we need to find reasonable alternative explanations for all the evidence that points to 1).

                              This brings us (at last, I hear you say!) to the argument that at least some parts of some ERVs have some effect, some parts even performing a vital role for the host organism.

                              OK, I've run out of time for the moment. If you have any observations or questions on this, Please post them. I will get back to this as soon as I can.
                              Last edited by User55; 06-02-13, 05:47 AM.

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