Chimpanzee waste could shed light on the origins and spread of HIV.
One-year-old Flick gets a clean bill of health.
Richard Wrangham checks chimpanzee faeces.
Delving into droppings has given AIDS researchers a surprise. Far fewer chimpanzees than they had suspected have SIVcpz, the animal virus most like HIV.
The technique could shed much-needed light on the origins and evolution of the viruses that cause AIDS. "It’s a non-invasive means to study the wild relative of HIV in its natural environment," says Beatrice Hahn, of the University of Alabama in Birmingham, who led the new study1.
Low in the mix
Until more wild animals are tested, scientists should not rush to draw too many conclusions, Hahn cautions. SIVcpz may be more common in chimps than this first faecal and urine survey suggests. Colonies rarely mix and deforestation has restricted their movement. So the virus could well be found in other groups in the future.
Holmes agrees: "There must be populations out there and we just haven’t found them." SIVcpz is a relatively young virus, says Holmes. Having been present in chimps for perhaps less than 100 years, it is unlikely to have died out.
Continued sampling of chimpanzee waste, especially in central West Africa, may pinpoint the few populations that still harbour the ancestor of HIV-1.
The technique could also help to monitor the risk of other infectious diseases emerging from our wild relatives as we continue to encroach on their habitat. "It really does open a door to look for [other] viruses in endangered populations," Holmes says.
TOM CLARKE | © Nature News Service
New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News