While we’re gaining more knowledge about the bacteria that live in and on us, we know very little about our virome. These are viruses that are part of the human microbiome, the total collection of viruses that we coexist with. We generally don’t regard viruses highly. They’re culprits of disease from the common cold to Ebola.
So, imagine our surprise at finding beneficial symbiotic viruses, ones that coevolved with humans for millennia. During the sequencing of the human genome, scientists found about eight percent that resemble infectious retroviruses similar to HIV. These human endogenous retroviruses or HERVs are remnants of retroviral infections in our ancestors that became fixed in the human genome... More »