Well, well, well… look who just got a smack on the nose after years of acting privileged and bossing other species around. A recent study has come up with the weirdest results, proving that humans may be less human that previously thought!
According to a study conducted by the Tufts University and the University of Michigan Medical School, 19 pieces of non-human DNA genomes have been found in the modern human DNA. The study was conducted on a large sample of 2,500 people, and in 50 people this new found stretch of DNA was found fully intact. In English, the scientists found the full recipe of an entire virus in our DNA! However, according to the researchers, it is yet unclear whether or not this complete virus can replicate or not, but the theory is that is may affect its carriers.
These genomes were left by viruses, called Human Endogenous RetroViruses (HERVs), that first infected our human ancestors tens of millions of years ago, and succeeded in leaving behind DNA based copies of their RNA genetic material behind. Scientists have been trying to link the existence of these strands to diseases such as cancer, but the main problem remains that we haven’t found all of them just yet. Moreover, the method by which those were found was comparing these genomes to a “reference” human genome; hence, scientists think they could find other such strands in the future.
Researchers are thrilled with this huge discovery as it will pave the way for massive research opportunities. But to be able to figure out definite answers, a larger number of people need to be screened as this special trait only seems to be found in a small percentage of humans.
So… you better go easy with that vanity, human. Other species may end up being more pure than we are!