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Scientists Recover Oldest Virus Genome of HBV

For the study, appearing in the journal eLife, the team analysed samples from the teeth of 53 skeletons excavated from Neolithic and medieval sites in Germany.

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Scientists have recovered oldest viral genomes of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and found that the deadly virus has been circulating in Europe for at least 7,000 years.
Virus, Representative Image- Pixabay
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Scientists have recovered oldest viral genomes of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and found that the deadly virus has been circulating in Europe for at least 7,000 years.

HBV — one of the most widespread human pathogens — is responsible for the contagious liver disease. Today, it infects approximately 350 million people worldwide and kills more than 600,000 people a year.

However, its origin and evolutionary history remain unclear.

In the study, the researchers not only recovered ancient viral DNA from skeletons but also reconstructed the genomes of three strains of HBV.

While the ancient virus is similar to its modern counterparts, the strains represent a distinct lineage that has likely gone extinct.

It is also more closely related to chimpanzee and gorilla viruses, the findings showed.

“Our results demonstrate that HBV already existed in Europeans 7,000 years ago and that its genomic structure closely resembled that of modern hepatitis B viruses, despite the differences observed,” said lead author Ben Krause-Kyora, from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and Kiel University.

“More ancient precursors, intermediates and modern strains of both human and non-human primate HBV strains need to be sequenced to disentangle the complex evolution of this virus,” he added.

Scientists have recovered oldest viral genomes of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and found that the deadly virus has been circulating in Europe for at least 7,000 years.
Scientist recover oldest viral genomes of HBV, Pixabay

For the study, appearing in the journal eLife, the team analysed samples from the teeth of 53 skeletons excavated from Neolithic and medieval sites in Germany.

The remains dated from around 5000 BC to 1200 AD. The researchers screened all samples for viral pathogens and detected ancient HBV in three of the individuals.

Full HBV genomes were recovered from these samples, two of which were from the Neolithic period, dating to about 7,000 and 5,000 years ago, and one from the medieval period. The Neolithic genomes represent the by far oldest virus genomes reconstructed to date.

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Interestingly, the ancient virus genomes appear to represent distinct lineages that have no close relatives today and possibly went extinct.

The two Neolithic genomes, although recovered from individuals that lived 2,000 years apart, were relatively similar to each other in comparison with modern strains, and were in fact more closely related to modern strains of HBV found in Chimpanzees and Gorillas.

In contrast, the medieval HBV genome is more similar to modern strains, but still represents a separate lineage, the researchers said. (IANS)

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European Countries Are Hot Destinations Among Indian Travelers

With travel bug catching up in India, European countries are a preferred destination for Indians this summer, according to a survey.

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Travel myths
Some travel myths need to be debunked. Pixabay.

With travel bug catching up in India, European countries are a preferred destination for Indians this summer, according to a survey.

Searches were conducted by travel search engine KAYAK.co.in between October 1, 2017 to March 23, 2018 for travel dates between May 5, 2017 and August 31, 2018.

Travel without visa
Representational image Pixabay

As per the search, Moscow and Istanbul are taking the lead with year-on-year increase in flight searches by 269 and 252 per cent respectively.

Other trendy destinations this summer show that Indians are interested in travelling not only to the well-known European destinations like Spain, Germany and Greece but also to some less conventional ones like Norway, Hungary and even Iceland.

 

Solo Female Travel Destinations
Copenhagen. Travel destinations where women can go for solo trips. Pixabay

Europeans on the other hand are travelling to Palma Mallorca in Spain the most, followed by London and Lisbon.

Considering the budget, several European locales are emerging as good options for travel from India without burning a big hole in the pocket.

Istanbul, which is also the second top-trending destination, is seeing a price drop as high as 95 per cent compared to the average trip cost.

This is followed by Milan, Italy, with a 37 per cent drop in the average trip cost. With warm weather in Europe, this represents a good opportunity to travel to these European destinations for a summer adventure at a reduced price.

Also Read: Interesting Thailand Facts That’ll Make You Want to Travel Immediately

Abhijit Mishra, Director of India and Middle East, KAYAK, said in a statement: “With the summer holiday period quickly approaching, travel planning is on the rise and it was interesting to see how European countries have emerged as the preferred destination for Indians this year.” (IANS)

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