My fellow Africans some brilliant cold (sore) case detective work! A relatively
simpler parasitical life form has been studied in its association with humans
to provide an independent line of genetic evidence that supports the out of
HUMANS all come FROM AFRICA: HERPES does not lie
Ex Africa semper frigida ulcus
Many lotharios will agree that there's nothing attractive about a cold sore -
but the virus behind this common affliction is proving very useful in tracing
the migration patterns of early humans.
In fact, boffins have been able to analyse the DNA of the unsightly, lip-borne
herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) to shore up the "out of Africa" theory of
early human development.
Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison were able to identify 31
different strains of HSV-1 in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. The
"stunning" result was that separate strains of the virus could be found on each
This fact allowed the boffins to trace the pattern of human migration by
analysing the relatively simple genome of HSV-1, which is significantly less
complex than the human gene.
It's also pretty common as the virus is spread easily through saliva or contact
with an infected piece of skin, and is a lifelong affliction.
Curtis Brandt, a professor of medical microbiology and ophthalmology, said:
"The viral strains sort exactly as you would predict based on sequencing of
human genomes. We 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.
"What we found follows exactly what the anthropologists have told us, and the
molecular geneticists who have analyzed the human genome have told us, about
where humans originated and how they spread across the planet."
Researchers looked at the 31 different genomes and built a "family tree" for
the HSV-1 virus.
What they found was was "clear support for the out-of-Africa hypothesis".
"Our results clearly support the anthropological data, and other genetic data,
that explain how humans came from Africa into the Middle East and started to
spread from there," Brandt added.
The study even seemed to back up the theory that human population of the planet
was begun by a small group of pioneers who managed to cross the Sahara and
escape the continent.
"There is a population bottleneck between Africa and the rest of the world.
Very few people were involved in the initial migration from Africa," Brandt
continued. "When you look at the phylogenetic tree from the virus, it's exactly
the same as what the anthropologists have told us."
The results also seem to back up the theory of a land bridge over the Bering
Strait, due to the fact that a Asian strain was found in Texas.
Which leads us on to an old joke. What's the difference between herpes and true
love? Herpes is forever.
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