Study of the full genetic code of a common human virus has offered proof of the "out-of-Africa" pattern of human migration, which earlier had been documented by anthropologists and studies of the human genome.
Senior author Curtis Brandt, a professor of medical microbiology and ophthalmology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison said that the virus under study, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), usually causes nothing more severe than cold sores around the mouth.
Brandt said that the virus under study, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), usually causes nothing more severe than cold sores around the mouth.
Brandt and co-authors Aaron Kolb and Cecile Ane compared 31 strains of HSV-1 collected in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia, and the result was fairly stunning.
He said that the viral strains sort exactly as you would predict based on sequencing of human genomes.
Brandt asserted that they found that all of the African isolates cluster together, all the virus from the Far East, Korea, Japan, China clustered together, all the viruses in Europe and America, with one exception, clustered together.
He said that what they found follows exactly what the anthropologists have said, and the molecular geneticists who have analyzed the human genome have said, about where humans originated and how they spread across the planet.
Brandt said that the researchers broke the HSV-1 genome into 26 pieces, made family trees for each piece and then combined each of the trees into one network tree of the whole genome.
The study has been published online in the journal PLOS ONE.