What herpes could tell us about ancient human migration

It isn't likely anyone would ever call a cold sore a useful thing, but new research into the virus that causes them could tell us more about human's early migration patterns.

See — there's long been a theory that early humans migrated out of Africa. Genetic studies and fossil records have made this a commonly accepted theory within the scientific community. (Via National Geographic)

Enter the herpes simplex virus 1, which we commonly know as the virus that triggers cold sores. (Via CDC)

Scientists from the University of Wisconsin at Madison say they looked into 31 strains of the HSV-1 virus, which they collected from all over the world to study their evolutionary relationships.

The Las Vegas Guardian Express reports out of that investigation they found support for the "out of Africa" theory of human evolution.

As our ancestors spread eastward toward Asia, so the researchers say, the virus evolved with its human hosts. (Via PLOS ONE)

So — basically the scientists did a family tree of the virus. By the way — why study HSV-1?

According to the researchers it's the perfect virus to study because it's spread through close contact, families tend to have the same strains, and it's rarely fatal.

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