Me: "OMG! My boyfriend published another paper!!"My virus boyfriend Patrick Forterre is still fighting the good fight for viruses:
Bossman: "Ugh. Do you have any idea how old he is?"
Me: "Our love, it is forbidden."
Viruses arent just wads of selfish genes. They are an organism. They contribute massively to the evolution of 'life' on this planet.
We arent slack-jawed TARD Creationists pointing at a Panda Bear slurring "Dat der is a BEAR kiiiind." We use genetics to establish phylogenetic trees, ergo, who is related to whom. Why do we point to viruses and drool "It aint ALIVE! It caint go in deh tree!"
It doesnt make any sense. Like having a ribosome imparts an organism with a 'soul' that allows it to be considered 'alive' and included in Earths evolutionary tree of life.
But that is the stickler for including viruses in the tree. Usually its the ribosomal sequence thats used to compare amoebas to oak trees. And viruses dont have them. Viruses really dont have anything in common with cells (so much for the "But viruses r just de-evolved CELLS!!" hypothesis) so how can we attach them to the Tree?
Forterre suggests that we just use the protein that all viruses have in common, capsid, to create a mirror tree. Like a reflection in a graveyard pond, a Tree of Undead Viruses.
Its a start. But I do not like. I dont see the viral world evolving like a mirror Tree of Life with viruses evolving with their hosts in an alternate dimension. I see The Tree of Life and the Tree of Undead Viruses hopelessly intertwined-- in the same dimension-- we can detect where we got protein A and protein B from viruses and where bactereophages stole protein C and protein D from their hosts or one another. I dont think Forterre would suggest that the trees are isolated, as it appeared in a diagram in this paper, but that is going to be the outcome if you compare Ribosomal Encoding Organisms to Capsid Encoding Organisms.
It is a start :)