News / Health

Herpes Virus Follows Human Migration Patterns

The virus that causes herpes simplex has plagued man for a long time. So long, in fact, that researchers were able to sequence its genetic code to confirm that it follows the “out-of-Africa” pattern of human migration. (<a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Herpes_labialis.jpg">Creative Commons</a>)The virus that causes herpes simplex has plagued man for a long time. So long, in fact, that researchers were able to sequence its genetic code to confirm that it follows the “out-of-Africa” pattern of human migration. (Creative Commons)
x
The virus that causes herpes simplex has plagued man for a long time. So long, in fact, that researchers were able to sequence its genetic code to confirm that it follows the “out-of-Africa” pattern of human migration. (<a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Herpes_labialis.jpg">Creative Commons</a>)
The virus that causes herpes simplex has plagued man for a long time. So long, in fact, that researchers were able to sequence its genetic code to confirm that it follows the “out-of-Africa” pattern of human migration. (Creative Commons)

Related Articles

Oxygen, Life May have Appeared Earlier than Thought

Researchers find evidence of oxygen in ancient S. African soils

Neanderthals May Have Dined on Animal Stomachs

Eating stomach contents is still practiced today in parts of Greenland and Australia
VOA News
The virus that causes herpes simplex has plagued man for a long time. So long, in fact, that researchers were able to sequence its genetic code to confirm that it follows the “out-of-Africa” pattern of human migration.

The herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), usually causes nothing more severe than cold sores around the mouth, but it is very common with some 90 percent of American adults having been exposed.

Researchers compared 31 strains of HSV-1 collected in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia, and "the result was fairly stunning," said Curtis Brandt, a professor of medical microbiology and ophthalmology at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"The viral strains sort exactly as you would predict based on sequencing of human genomes. We found that all of the African isolates cluster together, all of the virus from the Far East, China, Japan, Korea, clustered together, all the viruses in Europe and America, with one exception, clustered together," he said. "What we found follows exactly what the anthropologists have told us, and the molecular geneticists who have analyzed the human genome have told us, about where humans originated and how they spread across the planet."

Studies of human genomes have shown that our ancestors emerged from Africa roughly 150,000 to 200,000 years ago, and then spread eastward toward Asia, and westward toward Europe.

The researchers broke the HSV-1 genome into 26 pieces, made family trees for each piece and then combined each of the trees into one network tree of the whole genome. This paralleled existing analyses of human migration.

The new analysis could even detect some intricacies of migration. Every HSV-1 sample from the United States except one matched the European strains, but one strain that was isolated in Texas looked Asian. Either the sample had come from someone who had travelled from the Far East, or it came from a Native American whose ancestors crossed the "land bridge" across the Bering Strait roughly 15,000 years ago.

"We found support for the land bridge hypothesis because the date of divergence from its most recent Asian ancestor was about 15,000 years ago. Brandt said. "The dates match, so we postulate that this was an Amerindian virus."

Herpes simplex virus type 1 was an ideal virus for the study because it is easy to collect, usually not lethal, and able to form lifelong latent infections. Because HSV-1 is spread by close contact, kissing or saliva, it tends to run in families. "You can think of this as a kind of external genome," Brandt said.

The results were published in the journal PLOS ONE.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid