About eight percent of human genetic material comes from a virus and not from our ancestors. The genomes of humans and other mammals contain DNA derived from the insertion of bornviruses, RNA viruses whose replication and transcription takes place in the nucleus. Virally transmitted DNA may be a cause of mutation and psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and mood disorders. The assimilation of viral sequences into the host genome is a process referred to as endogenization. This occurs when viral DNA integrates into a chromosome of reproductive cells and is subsequently passed from parent to offspring. Until now, retroviruses were the only viruses known to generate such endogenous copies in vertebrates. Non-retroviral viruses called bornaviruses have been endogenized repeatedly in mammals throughout evolution.
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