Friday, September 17, 2010

Study: HIV Precursor In Monkeys Ancient

The roots of an HIV-like virus in monkeys go back thousands of years more than thought, scientists have found.

Simian immunodeficiency virus, or SIV, is between 32,000 and 75,000 years old and may even be much older, according to a genetic analysis of SIV strains found in monkeys on Bioko, an island off the coast of Africa.

It took thousands of years for SIV to evolve into its mainly non-lethal state, which could have implications for human immunodeficiency virus, researchers say in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

Previous estimates of the virus's age, based on DNA sequencing data, were only a few hundred years.

Full story here.

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