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Clues about origins of the human genome gleaned from koala study

Eight percent of your genome derives from retroviruses that inserted themselves into human sex cells millions of years ago. Right now the (KoRV) is invading koala genomes, a process that can help us understand our own viral lineage and make decisions about managing this vulnerable species.

[Professor of Animal Sciences Alfred Roca (left) with Alex Greenwood of the Leibnitz Institute, Berlin at the San Diego Zoo.]
Professor of Animal Sciences Alfred Roca (left) with of the , Berlin at the .
Credit: Institute for Genomic Biology, at Urbana-Champaign


Roca’s research team included research specialist , graduate student Kai Zhao, and scientific collaborator Alex Greenwood of the Leibnitz Institute in Berlin. Their work was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. The San Diego Zoo, Columbus Zoo, San Francisco Zoo, and Riverbanks Zoo provided the koala samples.

Written By: Claire Sturgeon. Photos by Kathryn Coulter and Yasuko Ishida

Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign