1932

Abstract

Humans have battled viruses for millennia. However, directly linking the symptomatology of disease outbreaks to specific viral pathogens was not possible until the twentieth century. With the advent of the genomic era and the development of advanced protocols for isolation, sequencing, and analysis of ancient nucleic acids from diverse human remains, the identification and characterization of ancient viruses became feasible. Recent studies have provided invaluable information about past epidemics and made it possible to examine assumptions and inferences on the origin and evolution of certain viral families. In parallel, the study of ancient viruses also uncovered their importance in the evolution of the human lineage and their key roles in shaping major events in human history. In this review, we describe the strategies used for the study of ancient viruses, along with their limitations, and provide a detailed account of what past viral infections have revealed about human history.

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2023-09-29
2024-06-16
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