Researchers have found evidence to support the fact that fossil Neanderthals contain viruses in the DNA that modern humans also contain. This could mean that some viruses are close to a half a million years old. This latest finding was published in Current Biology.
These latest findings show evidence between ancient viruses and modern diseases. Some of these include cancer and the HIV virus.
Dr. Robert Belshaw, formerly of the Oxford University and now a lecturer at Plymouth University leading the research had this to say:
Using modern DNA sequencing of 300 patients, we should be able to see how widespread these viruses are in the modern population. We would expect viruses with no negative effects to have spread throughout most of the modern population, as there would be no evolutionary pressure against it. If we find that these viruses are less common than expected, this may indicate that the viruses have been inactivated by chance or that they increase mortality, for example through increased cancer risk.
To read this complete findings article, jump over to Science Daily.