General Question

PhiNotPi's avatar

If all viruses instantly vanished, would they ever reappear?

Asked by PhiNotPi (11724 points ) 2 months ago

It is thought that viruses have existed since the very beginning, even predating the last universal common ancestor. Since then, most new viruses have simply been modifications of previous viruses. Viruses have mostly been evolving in parallel with the cells that they infect.

If all viruses disappeared, would they ever reappear (for example, cells evolving into completely new viruses)? How long might it take? Or, have cells and viruses diverged so far that nothing could make the evolutionary jump?

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6 Answers

Rarebear's avatar

Well, viruses are not cells. They are DNA or RNA with protein coats.

PhiNotPi's avatar

@Rarebear Yes, I know that. I was referring the the degeneracy hypothesis, which states that viruses may have come from parasitic bacteria.

pleiades's avatar

If they left yes it is possible for them to return. Perhaps the same way they/all life potentialy came here? Perhaps through meteorite transfer

RocketGuy's avatar

Things that go away by themselves can come back by themselves.

Rarebear's avatar

@PhiNotPi Ah. Got it. The answer to your question, then, is undoubtedly yes.

flutherother's avatar

Viruses can get incorporated into DNA according to this article so DNA might sometimes break down into viruses.

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