Wild chimps teach scientists about gene that encodes HIV-fighting protein

Part of a gene variant present in some wild African chimps is nearly identical to a section of an analogous gene version found in HIV-infected humans who are uncharacteristically slow to progress to full-blown AIDS.

A gene variant in chimpanzees in a Tanzanian wildlife preserve probably protects them from rapidly succumbing to the primate equivalent of HIV, Stanford University School of Medicine scientists have discovered.

A gene variant is a naturally occurring difference in the DNA sequence of a gene. Part of the chimp variant strongly resembles that of an analogous human variant known to slow the human immunodeficiency virus’ progression to AIDS.

Researchers discovered that some of the chimpanzees in the Gombe Stream National Park, made famous by primatologist Jane Goodall, have a genetic variant that may help prevent them from succumbing to the primate equivalent of HIV.
Emily Wroblewski