Koala epidemic provides lesson in how DNA protects itself from viruses

New Queensland study looks at Koala DNA to determine changes in human DNAIn animals, infections are fought by the immune system. Studies on an unusual virus infecting wild koalas, by a team of researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the University of Queensland, reveal a new form of “genome immunity.” The study appeared October 10 in the journal Cell.

“What we are seeing with koalas is something that every organism on the planet has gone through. Animals get infected by retroviruses that enter the germline cells. These viruses multiply and insert into the chromosomes, altering host genome organization and function, and the process continues until the invader is tamed by the host. At the end of this infection cycle…”

Click here to read the study findings.