Brain Cells Share Information With Virus-Like Capsules

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Brain Cells Share Information With Virus-Like Capsules

Postby wolfhnd on January 15th, 2018, 4:24 pm 

The Arc gene, which is critical for animals’ ability to learn from experiences, has an incredible origin story.


https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/01/brain-cells-can-share-information-using-a-gene-that-came-from-viruses/550403/
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Re: Brain Cells Share Information With Virus-Like Capsules

Postby Dave_C on January 16th, 2018, 8:06 pm 

Very interesting! I wonder if Arc is part of our genome, produced by it, or something else?
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Re: Brain Cells Share Information With Virus-Like Capsules

Postby BadgerJelly on January 16th, 2018, 8:31 pm 

This is amazing news! I knew about the evolutionary role in the body viruses had played; such as in thr placenta. I was hoping they'd find something in the brain too.

I have to admit I am still suspicious about the bacteria plays on the brain (albeit indirectly through the gut - meaning either by direct communication with the brain as well as what we already know about the endocrine system.)
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Re: Brain Cells Share Information With Virus-Like Capsules

Postby zetreque on January 17th, 2018, 3:07 am 

Thanks for sharing. I wonder if and how this will end up in debates about consciousness and what separates humans so far from other animals.

Since I had just watched The Matrix trilogy several times this makes me think about the part of the movie where agent Smith compared humans to viruses.
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Re: Brain Cells Share Information With Virus-Like Capsules

Postby zetreque on January 17th, 2018, 3:18 am 

Dave_C » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:06 pm wrote:Very interesting! I wonder if Arc is part of our genome, produced by it, or something else?


Good question.
I got the impression that it IS part of it, produced by it and something else. lol

The team showed that Arc descends from an ancient group of genes called gypsy retrotransposons, which exist in the genomes of various animals, but can behave like their own independent entities.* They can make new copies of themselves, and paste those duplicates elsewhere in their host genomes. At some point, some of these genes gained the ability to enclose themselves in a shell of proteins and leave their host cells entirely. That was the origin of retroviruses—the virus family that includes HIV.
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