Invaders in Our DNA: Ancient Viruses Help Fight Today’s Infections

It may be unsettling to realize, but roughly eight percent of our DNA is viral in origin, meaning it came from infections our ancestors battled long ago. New research published in the journal <a href="http://science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi/10.1126/science.aad5497">Science</a> by University of Utah geneticists <a href="http://feschotte.genetics.utah.edu/">Cédric Feschotte</a>, Ph.D., <a href="http://cellvolution.org/">Nels Elde</a>, Ph.D., and Edward Chuong, Ph.D., looks at how our bodies have repurposed the viral remnants to defend ourselves against infections by viruses and other pathogens. Feschotte and Chuong explain the research and why our defenses, and those of other mammalian species, may have arrived upon this solution repeatedly throughout evolution.