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Open Access

The ancient Virus World and evolution of cells

  • Eugene V Koonin1Email author,
  • Tatiana G Senkevich2 and
  • Valerian V Dolja3
Biology Direct20061:29

Received: 11 September 2006

Accepted: 19 September 2006

Published: 19 September 2006

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Archived Comments

  1. Absence of evidence or evidence of absence?

    23 August 2007

    Daniel Silvestre, IFSC/USP

    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

Authors’ Affiliations

National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine
Laboratory of Viral Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Healt
Department of Botany and Plant Pathology and Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing, Oregon State University