Common cold virus may predate modern humans, ancient DNA hints

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Inside a pair of 31,000-year-old baby teeth, scientists discovered DNA remnants from several viruses and used that genetic material to reconstruct the pathogens’ evolutionary history.    

Their analysis suggests that human adenovirus C (HAdV-C), a species of virus that typically causes mild, cold-like illnesses in children, may have originated more than 700,000 years ago, long before Homo sapiens walked the Earth, the team reported in a recent study, posted June 28 to the preprint database bioRxiv, which has not yet been peer-reviewed.

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