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Viral FitnessThe Next SARS and West Nile in the Making$
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Jaap Goudsmit

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195130348

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195130348.001.0001

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GETTING LUCKY WITH A FAULTY GENE

GETTING LUCKY WITH A FAULTY GENE

Escape from Simple Retroviruses

Chapter:
(p.79) 6 GETTING LUCKY WITH A FAULTY GENE
Source:
Viral Fitness
Author(s):

Jaap Goudsmit

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195130348.003.0007

This chapter discusses simple retroviruses. Simple retroviruses belong to the same RNA virus family as the AIDS virus, but unlike HIV, they do not attack humans. Simple retroviruses have only three genes while their complex relatives have more (for example HIV has nine genes), but both are called “retro” because of a remarkable trick they perform. All have three genes in common: gag, env, and pol. The first two are structural genes, with gag coding for the inner wall of the virus coat and env coding for its envelope, or outer wall. Pol codes are for the machinery that transcribes the viral RNA to DNA and splices it into the host cell's DNA.

Keywords:   simple retroviruses, RNA virus, genes, gag, env, pol

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