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Neanderthal Viruses Found in Modern Humans

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Ancient viruses from Neanderthals have been found in modern human DNA by researchers at Oxford University and Plymouth University.

The researchers compared genetic data from fossils of Neanderthals and another group of ancient human ancestors called Denisovans to data from modern-day cancer patients. They found evidence of Neanderthal and Denisovan viruses in the modern human DNA, suggesting that the viruses originated in our common ancestors more than half a million years ago.

This latest finding, reported in Current Biology, will enable scientists to further investigate possible links between ancient viruses and modern diseases including HIV and cancer, and was supported by the Wellcome Trust and Medical Research Council (MRC).

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