Study Reveals Ancient Viral DNA in Human Genome Linked to Psychiatric Disorders

A recent study conducted by researchers Rodrigo Duarte, Douglas Nixon, and Timothy Powell from King’s College London has shed light on the role of ancient viral DNA sequences in the human genome in relation to psychiatric disorders. The study, which analyzed nearly 800 autopsy brain samples, identified four human endogenous retroviruses (Hervs) whose expression was linked to genetic susceptibility to major psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder.

The research team cross-referenced their findings with large genetic studies involving tens of thousands of individuals with and without mental health conditions. The results indicated that the expression of specific Hervs was associated with different psychiatric disorders, highlighting the potential impact of these ancient viral DNA sequences on brain function.

In a separate study, a collaboration of over 80 researchers from various institutions, including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the University of Hawaii, studied the reentry of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx sample return capsule into Earth’s atmosphere. The sample return capsule, which carried extraterrestrial samples from the Bennu asteroid, provided a unique opportunity to measure sound waves and other phenomena produced during its reentry.

The researchers strategically positioned instruments across a 300-mile distance from Eureka, Nevada, to Utah, capturing low-frequency sound waves and shock waves generated by the sample return capsule. The data collected will contribute to a better understanding of how sound waves propagate through the atmosphere and aid in future research on meteoroids and natural objects.