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Infectious Virus Hides In Human Chromosomes During Latency And Can Be Passed From Parents To Their Children,
Date:3/8/2010

Virologists surprised to discover that a common herpesvirus hidden in the chromosomes of some individuals has the capacity to be reactivated to an infectious form.

TAMPA, FL (PRWEB) February 20, 2010 -- Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) infects nearly 100% of the human race in early childhood, and the infection then lasts for the rest of a person’s life. In a study funded by the HHV-6 Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports virology research, a team led by Peter Medveczky, MD, from the Department of Molecular Medicine at the University of South Florida, has discovered that in some individuals, HHV-6 causes such a permanent infection by inserting or “integrating” its DNA into human chromosomes. From this harbor, the viral DNA cannot be eliminated by the immune system.

The team also confirmed preliminary results by other investigators that, a long time ago, the virus inserted its DNA into the DNA of human sperm and egg cells. As a result, some people (about 1% of people in the U.S.) are born with the virus’s DNA in every cell in their body. Indeed, HHV-6 is the first functional virus of any type reported to be passed through the human germ line.

The team presented clear evidence that the virus can insert its DNA specifically into telomeres – structures at the ends of each chromosome that play key roles in bot
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