Chimps may have evolved defense against HIV
BY Advocate.com Editors
August 24 2002 12:00 AM ET
Chimpanzees may have survived a simian version of the AIDS epidemic 2 million years ago, evolving a defense against the virus that today protects them--but not other primates--from AIDS, say scientists from the University of California, San Diego, and the Biomedical Primate Research Center in the Netherlands. Chimps were found to have only half as many variations in their MHC I immune system genes as humans, a surprise to researchers since the animals typically have about five times as much variation in their genes as people. The fewer variations suggest that an AIDS-like epidemic once hit the animals and over time killed all but those chimps who had the MHC I variations, which protected them against the pathogen. Those genes today continue to provide protection against SIV, the simian version of HIV, the researchers theorize.
The scientists are now expanding their studies to include chimps in the wild to determine if noncaptive animals carry the limited MHC I genetic variations; the scientists are also beginning to look for human versions of the chimp gene variants, which could serve as the foundation for an AIDS vaccine that prompts immune system responses to invading virus.
- Multiple Attacks on Gay Men in NYC, Hours After Rally
- Op-ed: My Life as a Gay Boy Scout
- Father of Teen Facing Felony for Lesbian Relationship Says She's Been Targeted Before
- A Reason for Pride: Gay Parents Are Changing the World
- LGBT-Inclusive Immigration Reform Good as Dead, Say Advocates
- WATCH: President Obama Tells Morehouse Grads 'Be the Best Husband to Your Boyfriend'
Sign Up For Email Updates
- Marriage Equality Recalls of Pro-Marriage Equality Lawmakers Quashed in Minnesota 54 min 15 sec ago
- Commentary Op-ed: My Life as a Gay Boy Scout 1 hour 50 min ago
- Current Issue A Reason for Pride: Gay Parents Are Changing the World 2 hours 24 min ago
- Current Issue A Home of Our Own 2 hours 24 min ago
- Commentary Op-ed: Adopting the T in LGBT 2 hours 24 min ago
- World News Marriage Equality Appeal Headed to Brazil's Supreme Court 1:06 AM
- Mental Wellness Psychiatrists' Group Names First Out Gay Leader May 21 2013 10:04 PM