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Medical News & Perspectives
March 8, 2000

HIV's Origins Traced to 1930s

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JAMA. 2000;283(10):1279. doi:10.1001/jama.283.10.1279-JMN0308-4-1

San Francisco—HIV-1 mostly likely first spread from chimpanzees to humans in the 1930s in Africa, scientists reported here at the Seventh Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.

Using one of the world's most powerful supercomputers, a machine typically used to crunch numbers for physicists and astronomers, Bette Korber, PhD, and colleagues from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico analyzed a global database of the genetic sequences of variants of HIV-1. By applying mathematical modeling techniques used to study evolution on the molecular level, the team extrapolated from some 160 HIV variants to predict when such variants converged back to a common origin.

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