October 6th, 2018| Topic: RaMbLeS | 0


Scientists from Oxford, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, and the Glasgow Center for Virus Research published “Human Endogenous Retrovirus-K HML-2 Integration Within RASGRF2 Is Associated with Intravenous Drug Abuse” in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The long and short of it is that a virus may be responsible for the warping of our pleasures, especially addictions.

The human RASGRF2 gene, that one researcher called the “pleasure gene” because it increases the activity of the neurotransmitter dopamine (responsible for pleasure sensations) in the brain, contains an odd insertion in 5–10% of people. That interloper appears to be the remnant of an ancient (prehuman, say the scientists) retrovirus, HK2.

Retroviruses (HIV is an example of these) have the nasty tendency to incorporate their own genetic material into the host’s DNA in random places—“littering,” say some scientists. Depending on where the litter has fallen, and in the middle of what gene, it can create trouble.

HK2 (“litter”) is present in all humans, but only 10% have HK2 located (“littered”) in the “pleasure gene.” So that while 9% of all Glaswegians had that HK2 viral intruder in RASGRF2, about 34% of drug addicts did. And while 6% of all Greeks tested had HK2 in RASGRF2, 14% of Greek addicts did. Drug addicts, way more than others, seem to have the insidious viral material located in their “pleasure gene.”

This finding of a viral insertion associated with drug addiction in two independent, genetically distinct human populations is significant.

The authors mused (or I suspect they did):

Hmm …. Wonder what HK2 does to the ‘pleasure gene’? Perhaps those with this intruder in the ‘pleasure gene’ could be more disposed to addictive behavior, as they seek an extreme form of pleasure?”

Blame it all on a bug!

The Bible has a few things to say about pleasures—both right and wrong kinds of pleasures:

He who loves pleasure will become a poor man;
He who loves wine and oil will not become rich.
Proverbs 21:17

As the eras and eons go by, things only get worse, we are warned:

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.
For men will be lovers of self, … unloving,
… lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.
2 Timothy 3:1–5

Lovers of pleasure have no time, resources, energy, or motivation to be lovers of God. Such unfruitful ones, Jesus compares to seeds that fell among thorn bushes:

“The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard,
and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life,
and bring no fruit to maturity.”
Luke 8:14

Unproductive. Unprofitable. Unworthwhile.

Rather, the writer of Hebrews exhorts, we are to follow the example of Moses …

… who chose rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God
than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.
Hebrews 11:25

Pleasurable sin may be, but passing those pleasures surely are. Ephemeral. Transient. Fleeting.

There is only one source of lasting pleasure. Eternal. Infinite. Lasting.

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
Psalm 16:11

And the ones who seek after the pleasure of God are the ones with whom God himself is pleased.

For the LORD takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.
Psalm 149:4

And thus the people of God will resemble the Son of God, of whom God said ….

“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”
Matthew 3:17

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