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DNA from viruses in our genome is implicated in psychiatric disorders

DNA from viruses in our genome is implicated in psychiatric disorders

Are you a human or are you a virus? I'm not crazy, but it's just provocation to tell you that about 8% of your DNA, our DNA, is viral. That's right, the product of ancient, really ancient, infections that occurred hundreds of thousands of years ago. For those who like the comparison that the genome is the “book of life,” let’s say some good snippets are co-authored by what scientists call HERVs, short for human endogenous retroviruses.

Now, it is known that retroviruses – the ones of yesterday and today – have this ability to sneak into our genome. They paste it, make a copy of it, and then it stays there. Now, research conducted at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience in King's College LondonIn England, it was released at the end of May Nature CommunicationsHe explains that these sequences that we inherited from ancient viruses may contribute to some people's predisposition to developing psychiatric disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.

The study is led by Rodrigo Ravagnin Duarte, a Paraná native of Foz do Iguaçu. He earned a degree in biological sciences in the interior of his state, and left the country ten years ago to pursue a doctorate there King's College And it ended up staying. During that time in London – after researching the biology of fungi and bacteria in Brazil – he immersed himself in what he declared to be his passion, psychological genetics.