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Alan Franciscus
Editor-in-Chief
HCV Advocate
HBV Advocate

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

16th-century Korean mummy provides clue to hepatitis B virus genetic code

Jerusalem and Rehovot, Israel; Seoul, South Korea, May 29, 2012 -- The discovery of a mummified Korean child with relatively preserved organs enabled an Israeli-South Korean scientific team to conduct a genetic analysis on a liver biopsy which revealed a unique hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotype C2 sequence common in Southeast Asia.

Additional analysis of the ancient HBV genomes may be used as a model to study the evolution of chronic hepatitis B and help understand the spread of the virus, possibly from Africa to East-Asia. It also may shed further light on the migratory pathway of hepatitis B in the Far East from China and Japan to Korea as well as to other regions in Asia and Australia where it is a major cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer.

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