The Elements of Evolution (45-4) Viruses – Reversion Evolution


Viruses mediate gene transfer between cells and crucially enhance biodiversity. ~ Argentinian biologist Gustavo Caetano-Anollés et al

In unifying all other life to the DNA standard, viruses were the universal common ancestor. This demonstrated an unsurpassed genetic knowledge in knowing what makes cells tick.

Viruses typically travel light: keeping only the tools they need. Most lack reproductive machinery and even the means to metabolize. There are exceptions.

Giant viruses have incredible machinery that seems to be very similar to the machinery that you have in a cell. ~ Gustavo Caetano-Anollés

The giant mimivirus has sufficient genomic instructions and facilities to run its own business. It simply saves labor by employing the machinery of its amoeba host to effect reproduction.

The viral factories of the mimivirus are spectacular. Their size is similar to the size of the nucleus of the virus host. ~ Patrick Forterre

The miniaturization of viruses may be the earliest example of reversion evolution. Having architected the physical language of life (DNA), viruses settled into simplicity by dropping inessentials.

Viruses are stoic: accepting the vicissitudes of existence while quickly adapting to meet the demands of the moment. They travel the world and stay in hotels rather than bothering with owning a home. Lacking metabolism saves cooking for one. Surreptitiously entering and sneaking past sentries is a more exciting and demanding lifestyle than foraging by a wide measure. In enjoying a truly global community and reliant upon other life, viruses are the undisputed Zen masters of wabi-sabi living.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. ~ Leonardo da Vinci