Your Viruses Could Reveal Your Travel History: Study

Posted: Apr 4 2016, 6:33am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 4 2016, 9:52pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Your Viruses Could Reveal Your Travel History: Study
This is a reconstruction of a herpes simplex virus capsid, based on data from electron microscopy studies. Credit: University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • The Viruses you Contract tell about your Trips Abroad

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A new study shows that the viruses you contract tell about your trips abroad.

There is a virus that causes lip sores. Termed the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), two of its strains have had their genomes identified within a person. Such data may come in handy for forensic scientists in their quest to trace an individual’s history.

Anyone with a viral illness may have a history that could be tracked via this methodology. The study was conducted by Moriah L. Szpara at Penn State University. It will get published in the May 2016 issue of the journal Virology.

Many individuals who carry the HSV-1 virus caught it from their mothers at the time of birth. They tend to carry it for a lifetime. One of the strains of this virus is a European/North American kind. The other one is Asian in origin.

The second one was most probably caught by veterans who served in the Korean War in the 50s. A majority of people have their life history as an open book at the molecular level in the form of the HSV-1 strain of virus they carry.

Also if two people have the same strain of HSV-1 that means they must be linked somewhere with each other on their family trees.

Genetic fingerprinting could fill in the gaps concerning HSV-1 and a person’s history. This provides more genetic data where previously there was none. It is a lot to go on.

This identification works along the same lines as a forensic team chipping away at the details at a crime scene. With the passage of time, lesser amounts of material will be needed to identify the individual and his or her family history.

Termed deep sequencing, this method reveals the viral history of an individual. The sorts of diseases a person catches throughout a lifetime will be determined via this method as well.

There were a few other distinguished people on the team of researchers who looked into the matter. They include: Christopher D. Bowen, Daniel W. Renner, Jacob T. Shreve, Yolanda Tafuri, Kimberly M. Payne, Paul Kinchington and Richard D. Dix. Their efforts bore fruit in this regard. They have added to the genetic research via their individual contributions.

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