Taming of the shrewd: novel eukaryotic genes from RNA viruses
National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20894, USA
BMC Biology 2010, 8:2 doi:10.1186/1741-7007-8-2Published: 12 January 2010
Genomes of several yeast species contain integrated DNA copies of complete genomes or individual genes of non-retroviral double-strand RNA viruses as reported in a recent BMC Biology article by Taylor and Bruenn. The integrated virus-specific sequences are at least partially expressed and seem to evolve under pressure of purifying selection, indicating that these are functional genes. Together with similar reports on integrated copies of some animal RNA viruses, these results suggest that integration of DNA copies of non-reverse-transcribing RNA viruses might be much more common than previously thought. The integrated copies could contribute to acquired immunity to the respective viruses.