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‘Viral relicts’ in the genome could fuel neurodegeneration

Genetic remnants of viruses that are naturally present in the human genome could affect the development of neurodegenerative diseases. Researchers at DZNE have come to this conclusion based on studies of cell cultures. In their view, such “endogenous retroviruses” could contribute to the spread of aberrant protein aggregates—hallmarks of certain dementias—in the brain. Thus, these viral relicts could be potential targets for therapies. They have reported these findings in the journal Nature Communications.