Summer Savings! Get unlimited digital access for 13 weeks for $13.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Algae virus leaves DNA footprints in human throats

Algae virus leaves DNA footprints in human throats

The discovery is no cause for alarm, said Dr. Robert H. Yolken, a virus expert at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, but it's certainly odd: A bug known before only to infect green algae appears to have jumped from the plant to the animal kingdom, landing in the human throat. Without infecting people, this bug, or at least its DNA footprint, appears to make trouble, although not so much that the 40 healthy people who turned out to be harboring it noticed anything amiss. It took a test to find an effect in humans, then to corroborate the results in mice, ultimately linking the algae virus traces to slightly diminished mental functions, including attention, spatial orientation...