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HIV-like virus that infects monkeys is thousands of years older than previously thought

The HIV-like virus that infects monkeys is thousands of years older than previously thought, according to a new study led by researchers from Tulane University.


Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), which is the ancestor to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is between 32,000 and 75,000 years old and may even be more than a million years old, according to genetic analysis of unique SIV strains found in monkeys on Bioko, an island off the coast of Africa. 


The research, which appears in the Sept. 17 issue of the journal Science, calls into question previous DNA sequencing data that estimated the virus' age at only a few hundred years.
 
 

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