Friday, May 1, 2009

Dating The Age Of SIV Lineages

The ancestors of simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs) have been dated by researchers and it's only a few hundred years old. These ages are substantially younger than previous estimates, according to a new study from The University of Arizona in Tucson by researchers Joel Wertheim and Dr. Michael Worobey. Read the article from PLoS Computational Biology: Dating the Age of the SIV Lineages That Gave Rise to HIV-1 and HIV-2.

These SIVs jumped from chimpanzees and sooty mangabeys to humans at least eleven times, giving rise to several strains of HIV lineages. HIV is a virulent pathogen in humans. SIVs, however, rarely cause any disease in chimpanzees, sooty mangabeys and dozens of other African primates species that SIVs naturally infects. This leads to the hypothesis that SIVs co-evolved with their non-human primate hosts for over hundreds of years.

Will we see a non-virulent HIV in the future as we infer the result of coevolution between SIVs and non-human primates? Will we solve the mystery of this coevolution,using its secrets to fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic?

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