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The Science of Paleovirology
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It sounds like a sci-fi nightmare: scientists bring back to life ancient deadly viruses that once wiped out vast numbers of the human race for research purposes only, of course. And where do they go to find those extinct diseases? Deep within our own genome.

Long ago, some of the viruses that didn’t kill us got absorbed into our genes and sit there to this day. Most are silent fossils. But some work with our bodies to make us better, stronger.

It’s wild stuff. And it’s not science fiction.

This hour, On Point: The new science of paleovirology and the long evolutionary embrace of man and virus.

Guests:

Michael Specter, staff writer for the New Yorker. His story in this week’s issue is titled “Darwin’s Surprize.”

John Coffin, Professor of Molecular Biology and Microbiology at Tufts University.

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Sep 19, 2014
No campaigners celebrate as results come in at the Scottish independence referendum count at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh,Scotland,Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Scottish voters have rejected independence and decided that Scotland will remain part of the United Kingdom. The result announced early Friday was the one favored by Britain's political leaders, who had campaigned hard in recent weeks to convince Scottish voters to stay. It dashed many Scots' hopes of breaking free and building their own nation. (AP Photo/David Cheskin)

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Sep 19, 2014
No campaigners celebrate as results come in at the Scottish independence referendum count at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh,Scotland,Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Scottish voters have rejected independence and decided that Scotland will remain part of the United Kingdom. The result announced early Friday was the one favored by Britain's political leaders, who had campaigned hard in recent weeks to convince Scottish voters to stay. It dashed many Scots' hopes of breaking free and building their own nation. (AP Photo/David Cheskin)

ISIS and arming Syrian fighters. Scotland rejects independence. NFL turmoil. US troops and Ebola. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

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