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Evolution of viruses

Although biologists have accumulated a significant amount of knowledge about how present-day viruses evolve, much less is known about how viruses originated in the first place. When exploring the evolutionary history of most organisms, scientists can look at fossil records and similar historic evidence. However, viruses do not fossilize, so researchers must conjecture by investigating how today’s viruses evolve and by using biochemical and genetic information to create speculative virus histories.

While most findings agree that viruses don’t have a single common ancestor, scholars have yet to find a single hypothesis about virus origins that is fully accepted in the field. One such hypothesis, called devolution or the regressive hypothesis, proposes to explain the origin of viruses by suggesting that viruses evolved from free-living cells. However, many components of how this process might have occurred are a mystery. A second hypothesis (called escapist or the progressive hypothesis) accounts for viruses having either an RNA or a DNA genome and suggests that viruses originated from RNA and DNA molecules that escaped from a host cell. A third hypothesis posits a system of self-replication similar to that of other self-replicating molecules, likely evolving alongside the cells they rely on as hosts; studies of some plant pathogens support this hypothesis.

As technology advances, scientists may develop and refine further hypotheses to explain the origin of viruses. The emerging field called virus molecular systematics attempts to do just that through comparisons of sequenced genetic material. These researchers hope to one day better understand the origin of viruses, a discovery that could lead to advances in the treatments for the ailments they produce.

Viral morphology

Viruses are acellular    , meaning they are biological entities that do not have a cellular structure. They therefore lack most of the components of cells, such as organelles, ribosomes, and the plasma membrane. A virion consists of a nucleic acid core, an outer protein coating or capsid, and sometimes an outer envelope    made of protein and phospholipid membranes derived from the host cell. Viruses may also contain additional proteins, such as enzymes. The most obvious difference between members of viral families is their morphology, which is quite diverse. An interesting feature of viral complexity is that the complexity of the host does not correlate with the complexity of the virion. Some of the most complex virion structures are observed in bacteriophages, viruses that infect the simplest living organisms, bacteria.

Morphology

Viruses come in many shapes and sizes, but these are consistent and distinct for each viral family. All virions have a nucleic acid genome covered by a protective layer of proteins, called a capsid    . The capsid is made up of protein subunits called capsomeres . Some viral capsids are simple polyhedral “spheres,” whereas others are quite complex in structure.

Questions & Answers

who is the father of evolution
Ferkah Reply
complete the table below based on the levels of biological organization
Lovely Reply
Give me Examples of living thing which have 2 or more flagella?
Mahesh Reply
insect and plants
qax
bacteria and chlamydompnas
Berhanu
reproduction it's full meaning
Gift Reply
full meaning of ATP
Gifty
A life process in which living things increase their population through sexual or non sexual intercouse
Danisha
please explaination
Daniel
Gifty ATP means Adenosine tri phosphate
Mahesh
the process by which organisms produce their own kind.
Berhanu
who is the father of Biology
Ferkah
reproduction is the process where living organisms producess their offspring
jerry Reply
what is reproduction
Nmesoma Reply
why some kinds of students are failed
Ahmadi Reply
lack of concentration
Faith
lack of guidance and counseling
ali
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John
don't mind about reading
aine
lack of focus
Afolayan
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Kisaky Reply
Giving a specific section of the alimentary canal,describe 3 ways in which physical digestion occurs.
Kisaky
mouth when chewing
ephraim
what is population
Ivy Reply
total number of people living in an area
FILDA
a number of people lives in one catigorize area or named area
Oburak
what is a cell
Chiko Reply
basic and functional unit of life
Edwin
cell is tissues that makes up functional life in human or un animal.
Oburak
is the smallest basic unit of life.
Kisaky
Is the smallest baic unit. o
Kisaky
why cell is very important to human body
Ahmadi
what is diffusion
Henry
diffusion is a process of mix of particles from higher concentration to the lower one,to make the body functional normal
Adam
what is effusion
Mahesh
what is soil
FILDA Reply
Is the finely divided material covering the earth crust.
Kisaky
is the upper moist of layer of the earth surface
Ahmadi
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Erica Reply
in genetics which disease is also termed as the queen disease
Phinihas Reply
what are the types of cell
Teye Reply
prokaryote ,eukaryote, akaryotes
bonney
what is akaryotes ?
Chriscia
multicellular and unicellular
Edwin
akaryotes are organisms that function as eukaryotes and prokaryotes
Edwin
akaryotes are cell with no nucleus
Edwin
biology is the study of living organisms
bonney Reply
what's the divination of open stax?
John
biology is designed for multi- semester biology course for science Major
John

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Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
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