After a career at the National Institutes of Health (NIDDK) I retired on July 1, 2022, retaining my affiliation as an active virtual member of the NIH community - a special volunteer with access to the NIH intranet, email, and computer and library facilities, carrying out computational studies. After pioneering biochemical studies on prokaryotic peptide chain elongation, we joined the nascent community of investigators studying biological properties of non-LTR retrotransposable elements (LINE-1 or L1). Well before the era of whole genome sequencing, we showed that ~20% of rat genomes consist of fossilized ancestors of its currently active L1 family. Corroboration by whole genome sequencing showed that L1 has had a defining effect on the mammalian genome including humans, where L1 is the only active transposon. Our analyses of primate L1 fossils revealed that L1 exerts a fitness cost on its host, the evolutionary mechanisms that insure ensure L1 survival and the mutational history of its host. The latter finding suggested that DNA repair could be mutagenic, which we verified experimentally, and which was confirmed by bioinformatic analyses by others. In April 2005 I was invited to be a member of UC San Diego’s Project for Explaining the Origin of Humans (CARTA).