Theodicy: the 'good' view of viruses (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Saturday, October 23, 2021, 15:42 (35 days ago) @ David Turell

They are probably drivers of evolution and are bacteria killers:

https://theconversation.com/viruses-are-both-the-villains-and-heroes-of-life-as-we-know...

"Many biologists like me believe there is, at least for one specific type of virus – namely, bacteriophages, or viruses that infect bacteria. When the DNA of these viruses is captured by a cell, it may contain instructions that enable that cell to perform new tricks.

"Bacteriophages, or phages for short, keep bacterial populations in check, both on land and at sea. They kill up to 40% of the oceans’ bacteria every day, helping control bacterial blooms and redistribution of organic matter.

***

"Recent research points to another important function of phages: They may be nature’s ultimate genetic tinkerers, crafting novel genes that cells can retool to gain new functions.

"Phages are the most abundant life form on the planet, with a nonillion – that’s a 1 with 31 zeroes after it – of them floating around the world at any moment. Like all viruses, phages also have high replication and mutation rates, meaning they form many variants with different characteristics each time they reproduce.

***

"Our previous research and work by other researchers indicates that phages got there first. In our recent report, we discovered that the SOS response of Bacteroidetes, a group of bacteria that comprise up to a half of the bacteria living in your gut, is under control of a phage switch that was retooled to implement the bacteria’s own complex genetic programs. This suggests that bacterial SOS switches are in fact phage switches that got retooled eons ago.

***

"OK, you may think, phages are great, but the viruses that infect us are certainly not cool. Yet there is mounting evidence that the viruses that infect plants and animals are also a major source of genetic innovation in these organisms. Domesticated viral genes have been shown, for instance, to play a key role in the evolution of mammalian placentas and in keeping human skin moist.

"Recent evidence suggests that even the nucleus of a cell, which houses DNA, could have also been a viral invention. Researchers have also speculated that the ancestors of today’s viruses may have pioneered the use of DNA as the primary molecule for life. Not a small feat.

"So while you may be used to thinking of viruses as the quintessential villains, they are arguably nature’s powerhouses for genetic innovation. Humans are likely here today because of them."

Comment: my view of God inventing life and then evolving it sees the above evidence about viruses is that God made them to be His tools of evolution. It may be they step in and dabble for Him.


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