Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Biology Direct and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Hypothesis

The ancient Virus World and evolution of cells

Eugene V Koonin*, Tatiana G Senkevich and Valerian V Dolja

Biology Direct 2006, 1:29  doi:10.1186/1745-6150-1-29

PubMed Commons is an experimental system of commenting on PubMed abstracts, introduced in October 2013. Comments are displayed on the abstract page, but during the initial closed pilot, only registered users can read or post comments. Any researcher who is listed as an author of an article indexed by PubMed is entitled to participate in the pilot. If you would like to participate and need an invitation, please email, giving the PubMed ID of an article on which you are an author. For more information, see the PubMed Commons FAQ.

Absence of evidence or evidence of absence?

Daniel Silvestre   (2007-08-23 17:26)  IFSC/USP email

The presented hypothesis is quite ingenious and is something pleasant to read in these days of pragmatic science. But, I can see that something is missing. This article demonstrate clearly that viruses share "common" features (synapomorphies?) not shared by any kind of cellular life. Hence, is reasonable to assume that all viruses descend from a common ancestor. The missing point is: how one can decide who appeared first (cells or viruses) with this type of evidence? There is no possible outgroups/transition analysis to handle this issue, to my known experience. There is no fossil evidence of viruses predating cellular life nor evidence of absence of cellular with the presence of viruses. Therefore, with the evidence and arguments presented in this paper give sound basis to the existence of a virus world. On the other hand, it fails to present convincing evidence of the antiquity of viruses. So, as a suggestion, would be very welcome and useful to read a thorough account of known evidences supporting the antiquity of precellular "life".

Competing interests

None declared


Post a comment