Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Viral DNA Insert
Name: Jackie M.
Status: Student
Age: 19
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 

What can happen if a copy of viral DNA is inserted into the human chromosome?

Here is a short list:

Cell death
Variety of minor to major cellular disfunctions
Latency of the viral genes
Expression of viral genes

Peter Faletra Ph.D.
Office of Science
Department of Energy

This actually happens each time you have a viral infection. But in some viral infections, the viral nucleic acid is cut out again and is repackaged into new virus. In other types of viral infections, the viral DNA inserts itself into the host DNA for an extended period of time. Some scientists have proposed that the origin of the junk DNA in the human genome is inactivated viral DNA from past viral infections down the millenia.


Click here to return to the Molecular Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory