TWiV 65: Matt’s bats

January 10, 2010

Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Alan Dove, and Matthew Frieman

Vincent, Alan, and Matt discuss a project to study the RNA virome of Northeastern American bats, failure to detect XMRV in UK chronic fatigue syndrome patients, and DNA of bornavirus, an RNA virus, in mammalian genomes.

This episode is sponsored by Data Robotics Inc.

Click the arrow above to play, or right-click to download TWiV #65 (58 MB .mp3, 80 minutes)

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Links for this episode:

Weekly Science Picks
Matt 100 Incredible lectures from the world’s top scientists
Alan The Amateur Scientist CD
Vincent The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

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8 comments on “TWiV 65: Matt’s bats

  1. aaronharmon80 Jan 12, 2010

    I am curious about the discussion of Bornavirus DNA in mammalian genomes. Is it more possible that Bornavirus pulled the gene from a mammal. Similar to the apparent hijacking of genes from amoeba that Marseillevirus is suspected to have done. To me this seems more plausible.

    • Based on the sequence of the integrated bornavirus DNA, the authors
      believe that the viral DNA originated from an ancient infection. The
      integrated BDV DNA in chromosomal DNA is flanked by signature sequence
      elements that are produced when mRNAs are copied by the reverse
      transcriptase activity encoded by retrotransposons, such as long
      interspersed nucleotide elements (LINEs). The authors conclude that
      'it is likely that EBLNs are processed pseudogenes derived from
      ancient bornavirus infections.'

      • aaronharmon80 Jan 13, 2010

        Thanks for the reply. Their evidence is pretty convincing. I am surprised that this appears to be capable of expression, as the start codon and ploy A tail are intact. Wouldn't this have disappeared over the ~50 million years? Unless it is conferring an advantage to the host, as endogenous retroviruses appear to do (in the case of limiting cell infectivity to new retroviruses). Great article and discussion piece!

  2. Teeny Jan 17, 2010

    Just thought I'd let you know – I'm writing up my research manuscript while listening to your podcasts instead of music like the others, and as a consequence people in the lab think I'm crazy!