Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Viruses For A Healthy Pregnancy

Date:
January 29, 2008
Source:
Society for General Microbiology
Summary:
Sequences of DNA in the human genome that originated from ancient viral infections have some surprising effects on our bodies and are even essential for a healthy pregnancy, according to a new article.

Sequences of DNA in the human genome that originated from ancient viral infections have some surprising effects on our bodies and are even essential for a healthy pregnancy, according to an article in the February issue of Microbiology Today.

Retrovirus infections represent the most intimate host-pathogen relationship. The virus inserts a copy of its genome into the DNA of the host cell, resulting in an irreversible, stable and sometimes lifelong infection. If a sperm or egg cell is infected, the virus DNA can be passed down generations, permanently fixed in the germ line. As a result, an endogenous retrovirus (ERV) can exist for millions of years.

“Over the course of evolution, retroviruses have invaded the germ-line of our ancestors on numerous occasions. Now, human ERVs (HERVs) make up around 8% of our genome,” say Dr David Griffiths from the Moredun Research Institute and Cécile Voisset from the Faculté de Médecine et des Sciences de la Santé in France.

Although there are no viruses similar to these ancient pathogens currently infecting humans, there are some related viruses in animals. For a retrovirus to become part of the host genome it is usually inactivated by mutation or silencing so it does not express any proteins. An epidemic of neoplastic disease in Australian koalas is giving researchers the rare opportunity to study this process.

“Recent work has provided some tantalizing evidence supporting the roles of HERVs in normal physiology and also in disease,” says Dr Griffiths, “they can be seen as bona fide human genes.” Some HERVs may be crucial for a healthy pregnancy, whereas others have been linked to diseases like MS and cancer.

“It is only recently that the abundance of HERVs has been recognised and we are learning that they can have significant functions,” says Dr Griffiths.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for General Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for General Microbiology. "Viruses For A Healthy Pregnancy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080129125442.htm>.
Society for General Microbiology. (2008, January 29). Viruses For A Healthy Pregnancy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080129125442.htm
Society for General Microbiology. "Viruses For A Healthy Pregnancy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080129125442.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) — A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) — Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) — The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins