Tuesday, 10 January 2017 16:16

Retroviruses Estimated To Be Much Older than Previously Thought

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Published in Microbiology News

Researchers at the University of Oxford, England, looked at the sequences of endogenous retroviruses in a diverse selection of hosts. Using 36 lineages of basal amphibian and fish foamy-like endogenous retroviruses and new models for the evolution of the viruses, the group constructed a “genomic fossil record.” Their results reveal that the lineage of the foamy-like endogenous retroviruses goes back much farther than previous estimates for the age of retroviruses, which was about 100 million years. According to the authors, “Our phylogenetic analyses suggest that this major retroviral lineage, and therefore retroviruses as a whole, have an ancient marine origin and originated together with, if not before, their jawed vertebrate hosts >450 million years ago in the Ordovician period, early Palaeozoic Era.”

Marine origin of retroviruses in the early Palaeozoic Era

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