Defensive protein killed ancient primate retroviruses, research suggests

Monday, December 29, 2008 - 12:41 in Biology & Nature

Retroviruses work their way into the DNA of their host organisms and stay on even after they have died. Their remnants leave a “fossil record” in the genomes of the species they infected, giving scientists a chance to discover what killed them and, potentially, find clues for fighting retroviruses like HIV that plague us today. Researchers from Rockefeller University have now revived two groups of ancient primate retroviruses and identified their killer as a defensive protein found in humans and other species.

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