EDITOR'S CHOICE IN MICROBIOLOGY
M. D’arc et al., “Origin of the HIV-1 group O epidemic in western lowland gorillas,” PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1502022112, 2015.
HIV jumped from apes to humans at least four times, as evidenced by genetically distinct groups of the virus that have been detected: M, N, O, and P. While N and P have had little impact, M is responsible for the pandemic affecting millions of individuals, and O has infected another 100,000.
The M group of HIV-1 came from chimpanzees, likely in Cameroon. To uncover the roots of group O, Martine Peeters at INSERM and the University of Montpellier in France and colleagues trekked into the forests of central Africa to collect and analyze fecal samples from chimps and, while...