Paleovirology paves the way: hepatitis B virus evolution mapped out


Researchers collate hepatitis B virus (HBV) genomic data over the past 10 millennia, illuminating the ancestry of the virus and the origins of the current strains we see today. 

The study was led by Arthur Kocher from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (Jena, Germany), where the majority of the 161 authors in this collaborative study are also affiliated. The researchers used DNA-enrichment techniques to reconstruct large proportions of ancient HBV genomes in skeletal tissues from 137 ancient Eurasians and Native Americans dated between ~10,500 and ~400 years ago. The large-scale paleogenetic analysis investigated the phylogeographic history of HBV to provide insight into the historical diversity of the virus and the ancestral dissemination routes of different strains from 10 millennia ago up to the present day. 



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