[permaculture] Link to article
toby at patternliteracy.com
Thu Apr 5 14:50:25 EDT 2007
I used to be a geneticist. Viruses have been recognized as being able to
pick up and transfer useful genes for a long time. When a virus infects a
person, the body responds by releasing, among other things, a class of
immune stimulants called cytokines. There are receptors on the surface of
white blood cells that bind to the cytokines, and the bound receptor tells
the white cell to rev up and go into disease-fighting mode. The viruses were
long ago able to snip out and copy the genes that code for the receptors.
Viruses get inside human cells and force the cells to make more viruses, as
well as substances that the viruses need. So they trick our bodies into
manufacturing unattached receptors that float around the blood and soak up
the cytokines before they can bind to our white cells. The white cells never
get the signal to turn on, so the body fails to respond to the presence of
viruses. For something barely recognized as alive, viruses are pretty smart.
If DNA can transfer between species as different as mammal and virus, they
surely can transfer between almost anything. And viruses often mediate these
transfers between species. Genetic engineers know this, and that's why most
GMOs contain virus genes as well as lots of other foreign DNA. The presence
of these viral gene raises the odds that genes will transfer between
species, dontcha think?.
On 4/4/07 7:08 PM, "Tommy Tolson" wrote:
> Horizontal Gene Transfer is between species, which is still in many
> place thought impossible. It's happening, a lot . . .
> Maybe this will work to take you there, if you're interested. I hope it
> Gene Ecology Guide to: Measuring Horizontal Gene Transfer
> Tommy Tolson
> Austin, TX
> permaculture mailing list
> permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
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