Evolutionary origins of viruses and cellular life with Eugene Koonin

This episode is with Eugene Koonin. He is a highly respected computational biologist who has made significant contributions to the fields of evolutionary biology, genomics, and bioinformatics. Eugene is a distinguished investigator at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). His research interests include the evolution of viruses and the development of new computational methods for analyzing large-scale genomic data. Here we talk about origins and evolution of viruses, major transitions in evolution, diversity of viruses, and tools to study viruses.    

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00:00:00 Introduction 

00:01:03 How do we define viruses? 

00:04:12 Major transitions in evolution and viruses 

00:10:15 Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) and its virome 

00:15:50 Diversity of viruses 

00:26:40 Multiple origins of viruses 

00:28:56 Origin of viruses 

00:35:21 Viruses and replicators 

00:38:11 Selfish elements as information carriers 

00:40:01 Nature of selfish elements 

00:42:45 Why selfish elements emerge? 

00:47:46 Membranes of viruses 

00:53:00 Connection between information and compartments 

00:56:10 Replication strategies of selfish elements 

00:58:33 Strategies of viruses to organize and replicate their genomes 

01:00:18 Genomes of giant viruses 

01:02:56 Small or Giant viruses: which came first? 

01:03:34 Tools to study phylogenetics of viruses 

01:06:40 Can we identify the host of a virus from the genome and vice versa? 

01:08:39 Minimum number of genes required for the survival 

01:12:55 Understanding the complexity of alien life forms 

01:14:31 Last Bacterial Common Ancestor (LBCA) and Last Archaeal Common Ancestor (LACA) 

01:18:56 Evolution of Last Eukaryotic Common Ancestor (LECA) from bacterial and archaea 

01:23:02 Endosymbiosis in nature 

01:26:15 Bacterial and Archaea emdosymbiosis effects on compartments 

01:28:27 Size differences in bacteria and archaea 

01:29:33 Future of phylogeny of viruses 

01:31:20 Thank you!   

Music by: Ahmed Hassan (https://www.youtube.com/@2ays577/featured)