A2-2: An ancient virus may be responsible for Human consciousness

In an article in Live Science on February 2, the author reviewed two papers published in the journal Cell, there apparently is ancient roots to a viral infection leading to the advent of human consciousness. From what the researchers reported in the papers published by Cell, the Arc gene that causes RNA information to be packaged and passed between neural cells, has similar functions as a virus, and that could be its origin.

This leads in nicely for class, as viruses are next up for our class concepts, and how microbes interact, and bring about change in the world is always part of our microbiological studies.

I found this fascinating, and think this could lead to even greater understanding about how humans have evolved, and how we went from animal to man. From this study, I wonder if we might not discover how thoughts originate and how thoughts are stored and remembered? Could this discovery lead to new ways to explore the human consciousness?




2 Comments for “A2-2: An ancient virus may be responsible for Human consciousness”



I think that this concept sounds very intriguing. We have talked a lot in class about virla transfer and uptake of genes, and the idea of the Arc gene coming from an ancient virus might not be terribly far-fetched.
There were two questions in this post. The first question was “I wonder if we might not discover how thoughts originate and how thoughts are stored and remembered?”, and the second question was “could this discovery lead to new ways to explore the human consciousness?” I think discovering something like that will take a lot of research, and while I’m sure that is currently being researched, I also think that there is much more to learn and understand about the human brain before we can really delve into the complex understanding of this concept.
This article is not outdated, as it was published on February 2, 2018. Based on the way this article was written, I think it was meant for the public to read. It is written in a way that is easy to follow and understand, and I think that even someone without a science background would be able to follow along with and understand what is being talked about. It’s hard to tell whether or not this article is completely unbiased, and how credible the author is, but based on the fact that the article states that the author is one of LiveScience’s “Staff Writers”, I think this article is at least somewhat credible.

Holly Barnett


The research cited in the article is very fascinating as it involves human function formed long ago. It is surprising to find out that functions of consciousness share similarities with viruses and could be how it started. Thinking on horizontal gene transfer processes this it is interesting that a virus could have incorporated its genes into ours but ended up giving us something incredible.

I agree with the previous comment on the structure of the article and the reliability of it. Every news type article may not be conveying compete messages to the point that it affects the real message of the source. The journal articles appear to be very reliable and the authors are clearly experts o the subject. I think in terms of credibility, the first source is usually the most reliable and i this case it is.

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