New research has found viruses from Neanderthal and Denisovans (another type of ancient ancestor) in modern-day cancer patients. The viruses once found in these ancient ancestors are also apparent in modern human DNA, these viruses originated almost half a million years ago!
The human body contains a large amount of DNA that all have their own unique function, but there remains a large portion (90% to be exact) of DNA that has no known function called ‘junk DNA’. Just because we don’t know the function of this DNA just yet, does it really warrant the trash!? A Doctor from Oxford University called Dr Gkikas Magiorkinis has said that under certain circumstances, 2 ‘junk’ viruses can come together to cause disease, and this may well include cancer.
So it seems there may be a lot we can learn from our ancestors, hopefully it’s just a matter of time!