Mar 14, 2017 10:19 AM EDT
Leukemia is one of the hard to cure disease. It is known to be deadly if not treated immediately and sometimes even when it is treated it can still end up with death. Now, the scientists were able to find traces of the leukemia ancestors in bats.
Leukemia is a cancerous disease of which the bone marrow and the other blood-forming organs are producing the higher number of immature or abnormal leukocyte. It then abolishes the production of the normal cells that can lead to anemia and other symptoms of the said disease.
Recently, in the study that has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences have found evidence that the virus first evolved between 20 and 45 million years ago. The scientists were able to find the genetic traces of early leukemia ancestors in the genomes of bats, according to UPI.
The result of the study has confirmed the families' ancient animal origins. According to the new genomic analysis, deltaretroviruses which are a family of viruses that is responsible for the rare type of leukemia indeed evolved millions of years ago.
The virus researchers from the University of Glasgow, Robert Gifford said in a news release that "The discovery of this viral sequence fills the last major gap in the fossil record of retroviruses. It provides a means of calibrating the timeline of interaction between deltaretroviruses and their hosts," according to Telegraph.
The scientists found that the DNA of the ancient deltaretrovirus was discovered combined into a sequence of related Miniopterid viral species that are incorporated in the genome if the bent-winged bats that are more or less 20 and 45 million years ago. Tracing the evolutionary origin of the ancient viruses can aid the scientist to learn more about the development of the immune system in mammals.
Gifford added that "Understanding the history of these viruses will help scientists to better understand how they affect people and animals now and in the future." The scientists have illuminated in the recent years the evolutionary arms race between the viruses and the defense of the mammals by locating the genetic remnants of the ancient virus species found in animal genomes.
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