Paleogenomics pp 139-162 | Cite as

Paleovirology: Viral Sequences from Historical and Ancient DNA

  • Kyriakos Tsangaras
  • Alex D. GreenwoodEmail author
Part of the Population Genomics book series (POGE)


Paleovirology, the study of viruses from historical or ancient samples, is a relatively unexplored but promising subfield of ancient DNA (aDNA) and paleogenomic research. Analysis of viruses, even over short historical timescales, can provide information on virus evolution and biology that may be difficult or impossible to obtain from examining current viral diversity. This is in part because the rapid evolution and proneness to extinction of strains of many viruses can quickly obscure their origins. Though exceptionally difficult to characterize from ancient DNA or RNA extracts, reports on the successful analysis of historical and ancient viruses have been steadily accumulating. In this chapter, we summarize the successes and failures in this new emerging field.


1918 influenza virus Ancient DNA Ancient viromes Biosafety Giant viruses Hepatitis Paleovirology Poxviruses Retroviruses 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Translational GeneticsThe Cyprus Institute of Neurology and GeneticsNicosiaCyprus
  2. 2.Department of Wildlife DiseasesLeibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife ResearchBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Department of Veterinary MedicineFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

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