French scientists build virus from DNA

Nov 08, 2006

French scientists have used DNA technology to reconstruct a virus that infected the primate precursors to humans millions of years ago.

The scientists, at the Gustave Roussy Institute in Villejuif, France, said they rebuilt the virus from traces that still exist within the human genome, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Scientists estimate that human endogenous retroviruses make up about 8 percent of the human genome. They occur when retroviruses insert copies of their DNA into a host cell's genome.

"Our genome is filled with retroviruses," said Thierry Heidmann, an expert on human endogenous retroviruses at the institute. "It's a hard idea to understand, but they are part of our genome."

The scientists named the reconstructed virus "Phoenix," and said they plan to use it to investigate the role of human endogenous retroviruses in cancer.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Integrative approaches key to understanding cancer, developing therapies

Related Stories

Do viruses make us smarter?

Jan 12, 2015

A new study from Lund University in Sweden indicates that inherited viruses that are millions of years old play an important role in building up the complex networks that characterise the human brain.

Recommended for you

Blood test may shed new light on Fragile X related disorders

Mar 26, 2015

A blood test may shed new light on Fragile X syndrome related disorders in women, according to a new study published in the March 25, 2015, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurol ...

Recycling histones through transcription

Mar 26, 2015

Cells reuse a part of the histones which are used to pack DNA, according to a current study by Karolinska Institutet. The study, which is published in the journal Genome Research, was conducted on yeast cells, but it is ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.