Variation in virus progeny

Tue Nov 8 13:18:00 EST 1994

In article <9411061947.AA04087 at>, bap at MED.PITT.EDU (Bruce Phillips) writes...
>	If recombination, or even reassortment, were such a fantastically
>efficient method for generating diversity in progeny viruses, on might
>predict that influenza viruses (recombination freq. approximateing 50%)
>would lead to persistent infections and much greater diversity than they do.
>	I think it is agreed that HIV, by generating several mutations per
>genome replicated, via its sloppy reverse transcriptase, is capable of
>a quicker formation of diversity in genomic makeup than practically any
>other virus.  I'm am not aware that genome recombination is the primary
>mechanism for the antigenic diversity of these viruses.

Where did you get this data that HIV generates several mutations per "genome
replicated"??  I think you are confusing mutation rate with evolution rate, or
the number of changes that get fixed in the genome.  I believe that by the
current best estimates the mutation rate of HIV is about one order of magnitude
lower than most RNA viruses (see Domingo and Holland's chapter in "The
evolutionary biology of viruses" from Raven Press).  At any rate it is highly
unlikely that influenza virus has a lower mutation rate than HIV, it just has a
lower rate of mutational fixation.
Marilyn Roossinck

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