HIV is the hybird of two monkey viruses

Randerson, James
June 2003
New Scientist;6/21/2003, Vol. 178 Issue 2400, p18
HIV was born out of a union more than a million years ago between two viruses that infected different species of monkey, a study of the genetic history of HIV-like viruses suggests. The union took place when chimpanzees preying on monkeys contracted the viruses, which then combined to form another type of simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIV), the primate version of HIV. SIV in chimps is the precursor to HIV-1, the most widespread form of the human virus. HIV-2, which is restricted to west Africa, is thought to have transferred from sooty mangabeys in Guinea-Bissau in the 1960s. Until now, it has not been clear where chimp SIV came from, as it contains elements of other SIV found in different monkey species. Chimp SIV is most likely to be the product of gene exchange between SIV found in the mangabeys and greater spot-nosed monkeys.


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