Squatter's Rights: Retroviruses in the Genome and Their Implications

Pax Christi, everybody!

So I was prowling online the other day and I found something that suggests that we all live in an Aeon Flux episode:

For those not interested in giving the article a read, the popular news site posits that consciousness may be the product of a virus, due to the facts that a noticeable part of the human genome is comprised of archaic viral information, and one such viral gene known as Arc orders our neurons to build capsids for ease of information transmission, lest they wither away.

Do you guys find this convincing, and if so, does this have any bearing on the nature of Free Will, and could this Arc information become an autonomous virus again?

Hi Charles,

I think the article’s speculation goes well beyond the empirical support.

(1) The ARC gene is far from the only gene needed for animal neurons to do their work.

(2) The ARC gene is widespread in the animal kingdom. Does this mean that most (if not all) animals have human consciousness?

But it is an interesting article, and the ARC gene (like many, many others) does seem to play a role in our brains.

Pax Christi,

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