"Kissing dogs" can alter the genetics of human


30/05/2011

People and dogs can exchange genetic material for thousands of years through the transmission of viruses, so scientists assume. Retroviruses, the most notorious example, which include, perhaps, HIV (the virus that causes immune deficiency syndrome), has the ability to introduce their genetic material into the genetic material of their hosts. Thus, these "travelers" can be played back at the same time, when it is done by their owners.

All mammals and most vertebrates, or the creation of spines, obviously, are the owners of these "endogenous retroviruses" in their genomes. In fact, almost 1 percent of the human genome consists of these unwanted guests. Mouse opossums and even more susceptible to the dangers of these viruses that make up about 2 percent of their genomes.

In order to get a clearer picture of how deeply the genomes of retroviruses captured, scientists in Sweden investigated the genome of the first carnivore female dog breed boxer. Researchers found that endogenous retroviruses like are only 0.15 percent of the dog genome, which is six times less than in humans. Dogs can have better mechanisms to protect their genomes of retroviruses or their genomes may contain unknown types of retroviruses, which are more modern methods can not detect.

But the most interesting thing is that scientists have discovered a new group retrovirusovogo material in dogs, which is very similar to endogenous retrovirus discovered in humans. They belong to the type of virus known as gammaretrovirus, the type most commonly found in mammals to date.

This particular group of retroviruses like a dog captured the genome relatively recently. This suggests that dogs and humans can pass to each other these germs through close interaction for thousands of years - a phenomenon known as "lateral transfer". It remains unclear how such a transfer could happen - perhaps through the "wet dog kisses."

"We need to highlight the fact that we can only accurately be called ’the potential for a possible lateral transfer between dogs and humans" - said researcher Goran Andersson (Goran Andersson), a molecular geneticist at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. "In order to find out when and how it happened, you need to analyze the DNA of more dogs," - said Andersson in his communication agency LiveScience.

Such a study could reveal not only the confirmation of the lateral transfer, but would also show how dogs can defend against retroviruses. Such information could help in the development of therapies from retrovirusoa, possibly including HIV, as noted by Andersson.

The scientists describe in detail its findings online in the journal PLoS ONE.

Original: LiveScience Translation: M. Potter


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