How much of us is actually human and how much bacteria and virus… Bacteria’s DNA in our gut, on our skin etc. outnumbers us 10 to 1. The brain-gut axis has become a hot topic over the last years. Recent research has suggested that bacteria in our guts (microbiome) might affect mood and behavior and now the latest research suggests a virus gave us human consciousness?
On the verge
Our DNA contains roughly 100,000 pieces of viral DNA, DNA derived from viruses. Alltogether, they make up about 8 percent of the human genome. Genes that originally came from viruses that infected our mammalian ancestors still influence us now a day. In what way? We are only on the verge of discovery.
Consciousness goes viral
These incorporated virus genes are active in fetuses, influence our immune system but also our brains! Scientist now suggest that a virus actually made us into the conscious beings we are today by creating the means for transportation, reorganization and rubrication of our brains chemical messages.
Don’t kill the messenger
The virus gene* 1 writes its instructions down as bits of mobile genetic code. The viral gene metaphorically being the architect and our braincell the contractor. Instructed by the viral gene our brain’s nerve cell then builds little capsules for the mobile genetic code, which then travels to braincells in other parts of the brain. By helping us build the informationtransport system (capsules) a virus has enabled humans to develop higher learning and thinking. It’s an interesting thought…….and yet again the little virus gene did it’s work:-)
* 1) Problems with this gene are linked to autism and other neural conditions.
For the newsy nerds: The full article in Cell
Laura Hoekstra is a health educator focusing on the intersections of food, health and climate. With her background in Natural Medicine Laura looks at health (people and planet) through a holistic lens. She is a Certified Nutritionist and Naturopath and an advocate for Integrative, Personalized Medicine.