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A Question on ERV

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Hi All


OK, I have a question that is related to ERV comparisons as a means of achieving a common decent relationship.


My issue simply boils down to one question. Is the method of infection and insertion of DNA by the viri placed randomly within a hosts DNA.





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The general answer is that retroviruses have preferences for sites that have lots of gene activation. There are certain sites that have more ERV activity than they would by random choice, which could be do in part to a viruses preference in choosing sequences plus only sites where the ERV isn't going to interfere with essintial gene activity will be passed on. So the integration is often not random but there are many hundreds or thousands of hotspots in a genome that a retrovirus might choose. This coupled with the fact that within the hotspots there are dozens to thousands of locations to choose from makes it unlikely that the same virus would insert itself in the same hotspot at the same spot within the hotspots of several different animals.


This is not a complete smoking gun because different viruses have different levels of specificity and some seem to have very specific sites that they like to insert themselves. So a counter argument would be that this particular virus had a very specific site that it inserted itself into. You could then counter that some of the ERV's have a gene coding for integrase, which is pretty nonspecific.




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