The genetic stability of Ebola virus

Lyle Najita ijiwaru at nyc.pipeline.com
Sun Jul 30 13:10:03 EST 1995


In article <c601591-2907951459500001 at 128.206.12.143>, Don Haut writes: 
 
>In article <evans-2807951508000001 at ganymede.ahabs.wisc.edu>, 
>evans at ahabs.wisc.edu (PSE) wrote: 
> 
> 
>> Does it surprise anybody that an RNA virus that has been replicating in 
>> the wild for almost 20 years has accumulated very few variations at the 
>> nucleic acid level?  Sanchez et al do not comment about the resulting 
>> proteins, so many or all of these mutations may have been silent.   
>  
>> Is this the kind of variation that would be expected from an RNA virus 
>> over such a time period due to genetic drift (ie: neutral evolution")?  

>> Is there any data about genetic drift in filoviruses, or other RNA 
>> viruses? 
> 
>Given the replication strategy of filoviruses which is fairly simple (see 
>Feldman et al.) I am not surprised.  All of this data might imply that the

>filovirus RNA dependant RNA Pol. is a very accurate Pol.  I think these 
>are really interesting questions and it will be fun to see what the answer

>is. 
It could as well be that not many mutations are tolerated.  In general RNA
pols tend to be more error prone because they lack the proof-reading
capabilities present in many DNA pols.  I would prefer to see the data on
filovirus RNA-dep. RNA pol error rate before passing judgement on its
accuracy. 
 
>  
>> Does the lack of genetic changes imply anything about Ebola's natural 
>> reservior?    
> 
>Possibly.  As Sanchez suggested, there may be extreme selective pressure 
>to maintain the Ebola Genome as it is. 
> 
>Don 
> 
>Don Haut  
>Molecular Microbiology and Immunology 
>University of Missouri-Columbia 
>C601591 at showme.missouri.edu 
>314-882-3171 
> 
 
just MHO, 
L



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