According to claim scientists from Oxford University AIDS virus is almost half a billion years old - several hundred million years older than previously thought Retroviruses, the family of viruses that includes HIV.
According to the New research retroviruses have ancient marine origins, having been with their animal hosts through the evolutionary transition from sea to land.
Until now, it was thought that retroviruses were relative newcomers - possibly as recent as 100 million years in age.
"Our research shows that retroviruses are at least 450 million years old, if not older, and that they must have originated together with, if not before, their vertebrate hosts in the early Paleozoic era," explained Dr Aris Katzourakis from Oxford University's department of zoology.
Retroviruses are a family of viruses that includes the HIV virus responsible for the AIDS pandemic.
They can also cause cancers and immuno deficiencies in a range of animals.
The findings will help researchers understand more about the continuing 'arms race' between viruses and their hosts.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS