Every one of us carries about 100,000 virurses, embedded in our genes. Scary…virus

Every day, viruses traffic in and out of human bodies. They invade people’s cells, make new copies of themselves, and then, if they’re lucky, infect a new host. Some viruses do this by stapling themselves into our DNA, so that their own genes are read by our cells much as they read their own genes. In many cases, infected cells die as they manufacture hundreds of new viruses that burst out of them. But in some cases the viruses get stuck. They sit in the cell’s genome, and the cell goes on living. When the cell duplicates, it duplicates the virus DNA as well. Just because the virus spares the cell is not necessarily a good thing. The virus may still be able to pop out of dormancy and wreak havoc. It may also trigger its host cell to duplicate like mad–giving rise to cancer. One in five cancers is associated with these viruses.

The Loom : The Sixty-Million-Year Virus

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