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HIV’s genetic code, extracted from a nub of tissue, adds to evidence of virus’ emergence in humans a century ago

In a nub of issue from the 1960s, scientists have found more clues of HIV’s emergence in humans.
Scanning electron micrograph of HIV-1 budding from cultured lymphocyte. Source: C. Goldsmith, P. Feorino, E. L. Palmer, W. R. McManus/CDC

For more than 50 years, the RNA remained hidden in a lymph node that had been snipped out of a 38-year-old man in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. That nub of tissue, the size of a nail on a pinky finger, had been sealed up in a protective block of paraffin.

Once freed from its wax casing, scientists at the University of Arizona were able to extract from the tissue a nearly complete genetic sequence of an HIV virus — the oldest nearly full-length genetic code for an HIV-1 virus recovered thus far, and one that supports the theory that the virus that

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