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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Jun 20, 1995; 92(13): 5841–5844.
PMCID: PMC41597

Exponential increases of RNA virus fitness during large population transmissions.

Abstract

The great adaptability shown by RNA viruses is a consequence of their high mutation rates. Here we investigate the kinetics of virus fitness gains during repeated transfers of large virus populations in cell culture. Results always show that fitness increases exponentially. Low fitness clones exhibit regular increases observed as biphasic periods of exponential evolutionary improvement, while neutral clones show monophasic kinetics. These results are significant for RNA virus epidemiology, optimal handling of attenuated live virus vaccines, and routine laboratory procedures.

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