Endogenous Retroviruses Prove Evolution Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

I will begin this essay by quoting the intelligent design blog Uncommon Descent:

"Endogenous retroviruses are molecular remnants of a
past parasitic viral infection. Occasionally, copies
of a retrovirus genome are found in its host’s genome,
and these retroviral gene copies are called endogenous
retroviral sequences. Retroviruses (like the AIDS
virus or HTLV1, which causes a form of leukemia) make
a DNA copy of their own viral genome and insert it
into their host’s genome. If this happens to a germ
line cell (i.e. the sperm or egg cells) the retroviral
DNA will be inherited by descendants of the host.
Again, this process is rare and fairly random, so
finding retrogenes in identical chromosomal positions
of two different species indicates common ancestry."


So let's review: On a rare occasion a virus will
insert itself into it's host's genome at random, and
the host's descendants will inherit this and have the
virus in their genome. Our genome is 3 billion base
pairs, so it is extremely unlikely that any creature
would share the exact same virus in the exact same
place in the genome. But yet humans and primates do
have the same viruses in the same places in their
genome.


This article was written by Douglas Theobald, the
assistant professor of biochemistry at Brandis
University.

In order to prove this truly is evidence of evolution,
let me consider the following questions:

(Some of this information was obtained from the Endogenous Retrovirus blog)

1. Is the viral insertion really random?
Yes. Here are two papers creationists use in support
of the nonrandom viral insertion hypothesis:
http://biology.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.0020234&ct=1
http://www.genetics.org/cgi/content/full/158/2/769

The first paper simply states that some retroviruses
like to insert in genes, some like to insert near
promoters of genes, and some like to insert in the
middle of no where. The specific insertion sites, what
base pairs on on the left, which ones are on the
right, is random. Thats exactly what they looked for
in that papers methods.

In the second paper the researchers found two
independent Viral insertions in deer mice. They could
tell the insertions apart because the virus had
infected two different places, because this event
happened twice.

So Retroviral insertion is indeed random.

2. Do the Viruses serve any good purpose?
No. When ERV's do become functional, they cause
disease:
http://www.arthritis.arizona.edu/HERV.htm
http://www.mylonglife.com/articles/Retroviruses_Aids_Cancer_And_Autoimmune_Diseases.htm

In closing, you can google "endogenous retrovirus" and
pull up plenty of medical, scientific, and educational
websites. If you email the website, they will tell you
the exact same thing I am. You could also visit a
university and contact a geneticist who will provide
you with the same information.

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