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Trends Microbiol. 1996 Jan;4(1):16-21.

Mechanisms of retroviral mutation.

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  • 1Dept of Biochemistry, University of Utah, Salt Lake City 84112, USA.


Retroviruses, like other RNA viruses, mutate at very high rates (0.05-1 mutations per genome per replication cycle) and exist as complex genetically heterogeneous populations ('quasispecies') that are ever changing. De novo mutations are generated by inherently error-prone steps in the retroviral life cycle that introduce base substitutions, frame shifts, genetic rearrangements and hypermutations.

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