Sex with Neanderthals caused Human papillomavirus

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Sex with Neanderthals caused Human papillomavirus

#1  Postby the_5th_ape » Oct 19, 2016 1:33 pm ... ern-humans
Human papillomavirus (HPV) comes in hundreds of different strains, and infects almost everyone at some point in their lifetimes. For most people, the infection passes by without symptoms, due to the evolutionary mechanisms Homo sapiens have developed to combat the virus.

But a particular variety called HPV16 can cause cervical and other cancers. A new study contends that the strain actually hopped to modern humans during sex with Neanderthals and Denisovans, our ancient cousins.

The massive genetic-sequencing project indicates that the microbiology of the virus could tell us a bit about humanity’s family tree, the authors write in the latest issue of Molecular Biology and Evolution.

“Our results suggest that ancestral HPV16 already infected the ancestor of H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis half a million years ago, and that two main HPV16 lineages codiverged with either human lineage,” they write. “When a population of modern humans migrated out of Africa some 60 to 120 thousand years ago… and interbred with Neanderthal/Denisovan populations in Europe and in Asia, a transfer of sexually transmitted pathogens occurred, in parallel with the genomic introgression.”
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