The origins of human tuberculosis (TB) have been traced back to hunter-gatherer groups in Africa 70,000 years ago, according to an international team of scientists.
The work, published in Nature Genetics, goes against the common belief that TB originated in animals only 10,000 years ago and spread to humans.
Researchers combined geographic and genetic data from 259 strains of TB to reconstruct its evolutionary history and compare it to early humans in Africa.
The question the scientists are now trying to answer is how TB managed to survive 60,000 years among these small groups of people.
A striking feature of TB, which is not common in other diseases, is that people can be infected with it for years before showing any symptoms. The disease is able to reactivate itself after a certain time period, known as latency.
This latency is what the researchers suggest kept TB alive during the early years.
Read the original news article
Learn about the conditions that can affect our lungs and access our lung condition specific information.Read more
Learn more about life with a lung condition and things you can do to improve your quality of life.Read more
Learn about the factors that can cause lung disease and the ways to reduce your contact with them.Read more
Sign up to our free monthly newsletter to get the latest information and research news on lung conditions, plus views from experts and patients! You can unsubscribe at any time.