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Simian immunodeficiency virus, the monkey- and ape-infecting virus that HIV originated from, may have influenced the genetics of chimpanzees, finds a new UCL-led study.
The virus is a leading contributor to differences between chimpanzee subspecies, according to the findings published in PLOS Genetics.
Chimpanzees - Immunodeficiency - Virus - SIV - Researchers
While chimpanzees are not badly affected by simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), the researchers say the findings suggest that some subspecies may have evolved a degree of tolerance to the virus.
"Unlike humans, who when infected by HIV suffer devastating health consequences, chimpanzees can remain healthy when infected with the SIV virus," said the study's senior author, Dr. Aida Andrés (UCL Genetics Institute and Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology).
Chimpanzees - Mechanisms - Virus - Pathogenicity—that - Virus
"This suggests that chimpanzees may have evolved biological mechanisms to limit the virus' pathogenicity—that is, the virus' ability to cause disease."
By analysing the genomes of four subspecies of chimpanzees living in Africa, the research team found that the genetic variants that evolved uniquely in eastern chimpanzees were disproportionately related to immune responses, particularly to the response to infection by SIV.
The strongest selective pressure...
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