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 World map featuring the geographic location of the 6 HSV-1 clades with respect to human migration. Each clade — or variant — is depicted by a roman numeral inside a circle. Land migration is depicted by yellow lines and air/sea migration is shown by the pink line. (Kolb, Brandt, et al/PLoS)

World map featuring the geographic location of the 6 HSV-1 clades with respect to human migration. Each clade — or variant — is depicted by a roman numeral inside a circle. Land migration is depicted by yellow lines and air/sea migration is shown by the pink line. (Kolb, Brandt, et al/PLoS)

This has been done before using H. pylori as a model, but it is remarkable nonetheless to see how innovative researchers are in using different models to track human migration patterns… this time with HSV 1 or human simplex virus 1.

For the study, which is published in the open access journal PLoS ONE, the researchers compared 31 strains of HSV-1 collected in Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America. They then mapped patterns of mutations using high-capacity sequencing and to reconstruct cladograms. They were able to support what anthropologists and molecular geneticists have already — that humans originated in Africa, spread out into Europe and Asia, and then ultimately crossed the Beringia “land bridge” into North America.

 Phylogenetic network — Clade I includes European/North American strains, Clade II comprises East Asian strains and III, IV, V and VI are East African. HSV-2 was used as an outgroup. Splitstree 4 was used to generate the network. The viral isolates are colored according to country of origin and are as follows: U.S.A: light blue, U.K.: dark blue, China: red, South Korea: purple, Japan: orange, and Kenya: green. (Kolb, Brandt, et al/PLoS)

Phylogenetic network — Clade I includes European/North American strains, Clade II comprises East Asian strains and III, IV, V and VI are East African. HSV-2 was used as an outgroup. Splitstree 4 was used to generate the network. The viral isolates are colored according to country of origin and are as follows: U.S.A: light blue, U.K.: dark blue, China: red, South Korea: purple, Japan: orange, and Kenya: green. (Kolb, Brandt, et al/PLoS)

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