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Paleovirology is the study of ancient viruses and how they have coevolved with their hosts. An increasingly detailed understanding of the diversity, origins, and evolution of the DNA viruses of eukaryotes has been obtained through the lens of paleovirology in recent years. Members of multiple viral families have been found integrated in the genomes of eukaryotes, providing a rich fossil record to study. These elements have extended our knowledge of exogenous viral diversity, host ranges, and the timing of viral evolution, and are revealing the existence of entire new families of eukaryotic integrating dsDNA viruses and transposons. Future work in paleovirology will continue to provide insights into antiviral immunity, viral diversity, and potential applications, and reveal other secrets of the viral world.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Microbiol

Publication Date



DNA viruses, endogenous viral elements (EVEs), eukaryotes, paleovirology, transposons