Molecular fossils uncover link between viruses and the immune system:
Researchers from the Viikki Biocenter, University of Helsinki, show that atomic structures can reveal evolutionary history of viruses in a similar fashion as fossils did for the dinosaurs and reptiles. Their article is published in the April 15 issue of Molecular Cell.
These "molecular fossils" also revealed that viruses and proteins of immune system share the same structure. One plausible explanation may be that viral building blocks served as precursors for the evolutionary more recent immune system of animals.
These results are an outcome of recent advances in structural biology, a new discipline integrating applied physics, biochemistry and biology, which have permitted detailed comparison of viral structures in atomic detail. Such comparison led to the discovery that viruses without any sequence homology may be related.
That's just wild. The evolution of viruses, and possibly of the immune system. Anyone who knows more about this, let me know.